'Another seatmate. Another friend to gain, possibly. Or another person to avoid. I may never know until I have mingled with them,' I thought as I waited for the teacher to arrange us again to her liking. 'I hope someday I would not be suffering this kind of rule again in my life.'
I sighed as we were grouped by threes in class. I was assigned by the window, 'Yes!'
Two girls were grouped with me in the row. One has glasses, brown-skinned, has needle-straight hair, a height that is as tall as me, and slimmer. The other one was my pre-school enemy: straight hair but it looked kinda bent in a way if it wants to bend, raven black almond eyes, a height which is near mine, too, and a wee-bit chubby. 'What will happen to all of us? Will we be friends? Oh well, whatever goes!'
"Damn, how do we do this freaking Math exercise?" I murmured angrily at the problem. 'And this is time-constraint? I thought our teacher had already changed her perspective about us that we're not all Math wizards here and she does this again? Screw her. Mom and Auntie are better Math teachers than this piece of crap.'
I solved the problem nonchalantly and angrily, glancing and questioning her in the process. Then, I heard a sniff near our seat. 'Kath?'
"Kei, what's wrong with Kath?" I looked at her and the other girl beside my seat.
Kei looked at our seatmate and comforted her. "Hey, what happened? Are you sick?"
"No, I just thought I'll fail this quiz again and my Mom would be mad."
"Kath, your Mom would not be mad. She should not be. It's how you are. However you bend a tree, it will just find the light it needs. That's just how we are." I tried to reassure her and possibly calm her.
"We'll help you," Kei decided smiling kindly and nodded at me.
"Yes, in our own way." I nodded back. Kei continued to rub Kath's back gently as her tears subsided.
We helped her secretly. And she did not fail that activity.
After a year of being close, my seatmates and I got closer I guess. They would make me join them in recess, lunch break and even in doing homeworks. We had a couple of pictures together even in our retreat seminar for our elementary graduation. They went to my birthday and we went to different places near my home. We called each other bestfriends from then on but that visitation never happened again.
I studied high school in my hometown and they are in the same city as we studied elementary. I gained and lost friends during my first year in high school which is seventh grade for the generation who have been in the K+12 curriculum in my country. And one of my classmates, Zen stuck with me until we graduated high school. She's my anime confidant, has needle-straight hair which she curled at the ends when we were in second year high school, short chubby stature and beautiful singing voice.
My fifth-grade seatmates and I got acquainted again when we were in second year high school through our social media accounts since the internet has just boomed in my country at the time, and we followed each other. They would casually send messages but as we have no data connection at home, I send them messages through texting instead if I have loaded my phone's sim or if I go to an internet shop, I reply to them. After a few months, my parents bought a prepaid internet connection flash drive-type stick that lasted until I went to college.
My 'bestfriends' and I would talk about going to places someday. I tell them yes but my time seems to be always busy and they're not in the same school as I am. I am not adept at travelling so I would not go out to different places plus, I get bored and tired of going out a lot.
When I upgraded my phone, I would already use my phone to talk with them through data connection but since we graduated high school, they would only send me messages on special holidays. I don't mind that at all because I myself have other stuff to do and I may disturb them if I get clingy.
We planned to meet once but I never got the courage to go with them because it'll cause troible especially if I cut classes just to go with them. We did not attend the same university nor we are in the same province. If I ever join them on going to places there, I would get trouble in studying and lose trust from my family.
After graduation, we were in separate places already. While two of my 'bestfriends' were in the capital region, I stayed in our home region for work. I don't like the environment there and no matter what coaxing and pressure they would do to me, they will not convince me because it's more polluted in that area than in any other places in our country. They seemed to feel sad about me not going there even with a vacation so I told them that if I got a seminar there, I'd visit if I can.
Flash forward and we got the pandemic. I got worried about them in the capital region so I had to check up on them when I have time. But the thing is, they seemed busier and I noticed that Kath was already way beyond how I know her. She loves parties and drinking--those popular girls do in movies. I felt some kind of remorse at what she does. Every post was about travelling, drinking and parties. When I talked about it with Kei, she said it was the best for Kath because she's had her personality too contained too much for too long. I argued with that about her though I did not pry on it more.
"What we can do is just support her. I too would want to be more open and stuff like her."
It's okay to support her but what she's doing is killing herself in the process. But Kei told me that it was okay and that Kath is that way since college. With those words I felt out of place in their lives already. 'Maybe I should really get out of their lives for good. I would just be excess baggage for these people because I am not like them.'
I did not move out of their lives immediately but I tried to test them again. I asked for some advice because I was struck with anxiety about my Mom telling me again on marrying and stuff. She told me, "You have to go out and gain your Mom's trust by going out more."
I did twice. The second time I did it, Mom's distrust of me got more intense. She thought she'd lose me already. But I know I did not so I thought maybe my parents are just not ready for that so I am in the wrong. "I will try to convince her slowly," I replied.
But then, with her reply on me again, it's as if she's pushing that going out a lot to gain trust. But that's just not how my Mom's trust work. So I decided to thank her now instead and with me agreeing she called me toxic and that she's already tired.
Is it being toxic if you disagree with people just because of an advice? Or she just felt pain like what I felt when they were already distant to me? I may have given back what they were doing all along so she told me I am toxic. They seem to want me to be with them from high school, college then work but I am more for practicality. I don't blame them if we're far and I have different goals. But she blamed me for being an introvert and called me toxic which is not okay at all. I'd rather lose friends than lose the people whom I know supported me when other seemed to disapprove of what I do.
I ended the 14-year friendship we had. She told me I'll just come back but I will never go back again. I'd rather be alone than be with friends who just befriended me solely because they thought I cannot live without them. Well I can. I've proved it. It's been a year now. I disagree with them always but they did not consider it even once. That's how I viewed them about that argument.
I realized that my true friends were my closest high school and college friends not those whom I have bonded with in elementary. It's okay to be different than your friends. But pressuring you to be like them is not at all good. That's just not how friendship works. And telling your friend you support her but you're already disapproving of her actions, that's not how support works. That's selfishness.