The friend sent me the most heartfelt birthday message the other day. It of course melted my heart; it felt like he was saying in way more words than necessary that he missed me, and all I wanted to shout back was that I missed him so so so much too, and suggest we get on Facetime right now to pretend we were in the same room and talk for hours like we used to. And when you get back on campus, follow me to the mall or the supermarket, just because you wanted to hang out… like we used to. I’ll meet you for coffee I don’t actually need, over desert I didn’t really crave, with a pile of readings stacked before us both, knowing that we’d be better off trying to get them done on our own. Beg me to follow you to Starbucks like you used to. What happened to walking a few steps further each day just to laugh with you, or silently grieve with you, just a little while longer. Or better yet, why don’t we hop on a budget plane ride together just like we used to. Making slightly too comfortable jokes about it being our last because we both felt so content with our present that it felt okay if the future decided it didn’t want to arrive. Amidst our giggly crowd tumbling down the alleys of yet another foreign pavement, always searching for only your feet to walk parallel to, only your arms to link with mine, only your shoulder to cry on, your head to lay on my shoulder…we were annoying, weren’t we? Knock on my door at 5am to vent like you used to. Although I would complain about you taking away from my rest, now, I’d be delighted by such an indication that my company mattered that much to you. I remember suppressing my excitement for the chance to talk to you once more over that long summer period. I remember accidentally falling asleep with my ear pressed to the phone, then panicking two hours later at the thought of missing your call, only to get your message asking to postpone anyway. You were my buddy, my pal, and now I’ve spent the last few months of my life trying to sort out what I believe to be my own craziness for missing a friend who no longer sends me messages asking to eat with him, or study with him,, or help him move in and out of his apartment. I remember those first indications of a dying friendship; the texts left on read, the conversations that focused more on your ‘new’ friends, the gaps in those conversations, the fear in my heart. It hurt so much, and while a few months later I’m still here writing of the heartbreak of this lost friendship, I take comfort in knowing that time at least has taken away that fear that once accompanied the possibility of this loss. Its as if I’ve come to realize that mourning the dead is better than grieving for the dying. Once again, yet more painful than ever, I have learned to make love disposable. And while its only ever done as a survival technique, I know that its not healthy for me. I’ve always been able to come to a place of celebration for the fun I’ve at least had with the ones I’ve lost, but this time its only met with so much hurt. Maybe because this time, it wasn’t a disagreement, a falling out, a dramatic episode, or some acceptable inevitable circumstance. No, this time… I can’t ever look back at the wonderful, fantastic, amazing friendship we had, without facing the thought that I had once cared so much about someone, yet still it seemed as though I was so easily forgotten.