As a kid you never realize how lucky you are until it’s too late. Rather you’re so distracted by trying to find as many friends as possible that you never take advantage of the fact that your best friend lives so close you can say her name and she’ll probably hear.
My best friend was a girl I thought I knew, and perhaps I did once, but now I’m not so sure.
I knew that her favorite time to be awake was when no one else was. She loved being out when the stop lights no longer waited for traffic to build. The blinking of these eternal flashlights kept with the beat of her slow, tired, heart and guided her to a quiet home.
A scrap of metal dug up from the yard became a bullet that parted a soldier from his family. She’d cry over something that never happened and she’d convince you to cry as well. By the end of the night we would have buried the bullet just as the imaginary soldier never was.
Christmas letters were sent in the mail even though we lived near enough that we could have hand delivered them. These overstuffed envelopes would reveal inside jokes and knick knacks found in the closet. After a week or so, we would forget where we placed these things and guilt would compel us to never mention them again.
That is until we were old enough to mourn the times wasted. We’d reminisce on silly things we knew we shouldn’t have done. We’d cry over things we knew we should have done. And too late we’d realize our time together could have been spent better.
First I moved away and then she did, too. We knew how to reach each other but as days went by we began to not bother. Perhaps we even began to forget about each other. New best friends arrived and we’d whine over the distance between us and them. We’d yearn for them to be as close as the friend we never completely allowed into our lives. And one day, when we are changed nearly beyond recognition, we’ll pass each other in a store. Our eyes will meet. A double take may be done. But we won’t do anything.
Later we’ll realize what we should have done. We’ll phrase the words we should have spoke. We may even dial the number we once had memorized, but it will turn out not being theirs anymore.
It will happen again. And again. And soon we’ll forget the friend with so much guilt over us.