Two-way street

“A girl doesn’t need anyone who doesn’t need her.”

Marilyn Monroe summed it up right. With all the changes taking place in and out of school, college and jobs, it is hard to stay best friends with the same people you grew up with. Sometimes, the ones you loved the most leave you the quickest. Sometimes, they forget the precious memories that you fight every day to hold onto. But worst of all, sometimes, they pass right through you like you are suddenly invisible, nonexistent even.

When my high school best friend and I started drifting apart, I was too invested in our friendship to realize the feelings weren’t mutual. Slowly, she stopped texting me her signature, “Omg, I have so much to tell you,” texts. She stopped calling me when she needed someone to cheer her up after hearing bad news. She stopped our five hour shopping sprees and unfathomable conversations that often drove everyone around us to insanity.  She stopped everything relating to me and cut me out of her life without hesitation and without allowing me any say in it. I was left feeling like someone had stolen a part of my identity.

The reality is that people change, sometimes in ways so unimaginable that it catches us off guard. We find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, unsure of how to react or how to fix the broken glass without injuring ourselves further.

The pattern should have been easy for me to identify because it always started and ended the same way. Both of us were so immersed in our high school lives that we began to separate. We reorganized our priorities, but somehow our friendship fell on the outskirts of her list. I tried to reach out to her, to remind her that our friendship could survive anything, even the stress of high school.  But it was to no avail, as she had already given up. Gradually, it reached the point where a simple greeting, “Hi,” felt uncomfortable and uncalled for.

Deep down, I knew there was nothing left for me to fix. However, for a split second, I was still convinced that our eyes would meet and our worlds would collide again. I did not believe that I could go a day without her.

It is hard to let go of what has become so familiar. It is hard to say goodbye to people who meant everything to us at one point. So we hold on to even the most minuscule drop of hope we can find. Hope that they will find their way back to us. Hope that there is a way to reverse the unthinkable.

Every year, my brain recognizes that it is too late to rewrite my history, but my heart refuses to face the truth. It holds on to tenuous hope – this year being particularly bad. Senior year is supposed to be the best year, if you can survive it, but it is also the year where everything becomes real. We start focusing on ourselves and our capacities. We enter a new stage in our lives – one that may relocate us away from our friends and family.

Best friend or not, every relationship is still a two-way street. And if she refused to put in any effort, then, of course, the friendship was doomed. It finally hit me that losing her was not my fault.

We can try to stay in touch and we can try to hold on to them. But we cannot make them love us and we cannot make them remember us. After all, it is not up to us to make decisions for them.

We become so caught up in winning the love and acceptance of the wrong people that we forget that we are already cherished by the right people. They may not miss our company, but someone else always does.

In high school or beyond, all we can do is be ourselves and follow our own paths. Those who belong in our lives and want us in theirs, will make us a priority. No excuses. No questions asked. No complications. Because they need us as much as we need them.