Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about the idea of that which is temporary and that which is permanent. And after all of my thinking, I still cannot get a handle on either.

The main example that got me to write about it was glancing through pictures of my "ex best friend" from high school and the early years of college. We were so very close for over four years. And then halfway through junior year, we had some kind of a falling out, and now we do not even speak anymore. It wasn't a big ugly hairy fight or anything. And six months later, I went to her and tried to speak with her about what had happened and I was unsuccessful in gleaning any kind of explanation from her. The simple truth is that we broke up. It ended. It played itself out, and now it is over. And I just can't understand that. How could I go from being the one that she called with bad news on a Saturday night my sophomore year, who dropped everything from a thousand miles away to sit in the hallway and talk with her, to being someone that lived in the same city with her for three months this summer and only saw her once? How do things end? Why do they? Romantic relationships are fleeting unfortunately. I've come to believe that maybe they will always be. That to find one that isn't is such an anomaly that it may never happen to me or to even to anyone that I know. But friendship is supposed to last. . . isn't it? It's supposed to change and evolve and grow over time. But it isn't just supposed to end.

Maybe there is something flawed in me that believes mistakenly that anything should be anything. I believe human beings are made for permanence. We are eternal beings, and part of the pain of this world is its temporary nature. I know this; believe it to be true. But what good is it if the only thing that is eternal is something that I can't touch or see in front of me? I am not willing to just say that this is how it goes. It doesn't go this way for some people. Some people stay friends their entire lives. Simon & Garfunkel for example. So am I hurt by my friend's inability to handle permanence, or did I do it to us? Did I expect something of her, of our friendship, that was unfair, and therefore caused her to want to escape from me? Or did she just give up? Did she stop loving me? Did we somehow cease to be soul sisters?

And if so, I think I'm with my friend Luke on this one. How could it have any true meaning in the long run if it just. . . ends? There must have been a lot of lies along the way in order to support it, and subsequently let it end, though I suppose it's actually a little different in a platonic friendship. And why am I ok with my romantic relationships being lovely little fleeting vignettes but not my friendships? I think I expect less from men. I don't know why. I have strong vibrant friendships with men that stretch back to kindergarten. (Though come to think of it, I don't talk to him that much anymore either . . .) Middle school at least. But I think the idea of romantic attraction somehow cheapens the friend connection for me. It's like, "oh you only keep track of me because you're hoping one day we might be together and I only keep track of you because I think it might happen, too." And that seems awfully self-serving to me, even if it's mutual.

Maybe it has nothing to do with gender. Maybe I will just always yearn for a connection with another person that I will never actually achieve. I actually believe this as a truth as well: that true communion will only happen in heaven. That we can catch a glimpse of eternity in our families and marriages, but that beyond that, we must wait for heaven. But this is no consolation for me right now today. I look at the relationships I've poured myself into and comparatively, I have very little to show for them. A few letters. Photographs. A forced and intermittent leftover correspondence. Someone with whom I talk every month or so at the very most. People who do not call me, and do not call me back when I call them.

I sound pitiful. I rejoice in the moments of communion that I do have with people that I used to know, and continue to know in three or four hour stints. They are little gems of warmth in my life. And I am thankful for their honesty. I would rather have an honest inconstant friendship than a false reliable one. I guess I'm just coming to the realization that until and unless I find someone that I would like to marry, that those years truly could have been the best of my life. As I get older, more and more of my friends are married, and this limits our friendship potential. And that's ok. I guess. I just wish I didn't feel so let down about it. I wish I didn't miss my best friend so much, and yet harbor such bitterness towards her simultaneously. And I wish that if I could talk to her that it would matter to her that I feel this way. . .

1 comment:

luke said...

i really appreciate your thoughts here arika--thank you for sharing them. it is really such a strong feeling, that dissonance with separation. and i feel like a so often fluctuate between feeling the despair of it and wanting to fight for it believing that i really can experience it here and now. i don't want to wait, eternity always starts now. i'll take my tastes, but i want more. i think i'm getting to the point of feeling that way more and more, but still the resignation sometimes hits...

i'm feeling the insufficiency of words to express it all now. in short, i'm with you--and not just because we're old friends or for whatever other reason. i'm glad we're still friends, even as inconstant as it can be and has been in the past.