Each day is an ordinary day.
I would walk through the school hallways and see you, and you would always wave hello. I would always awkwardly wave back with a smile on my face, not letting you know the uneasiness every time I see you. When we had class together, you sat behind me, always trying to strike a conversation I was never prepared for. It makes me wonder if I wished none of this had happened. It makes me wonder if I wanted us to be nothing close to friends, and be more of strangers.
Things weren’t always like this.
There were days when I would freely call your name in the hallways without any hint of nervousness or awkwardness. There used to be days when I wasn’t afraid to talk to you, wasn’t afraid to know what to say to you. Nowadays I almost want to avoid you. Each time I talk to you I watch my words. Each time I see you, it feels like another stab in my heart.
A lot of days are filled with me wondering why. Wanting an answer to how you reacted. To why you stopped talking to me, acting as if I hadn’t existed, as if you didn’t know me. Four years ago, when we first met, I wasn’t afraid of anyone. I was only afraid of letting my problems show back then. Even now I’m still afraid, but I’m afraid of talking to people. I’m afraid of saying things I shouldn’t say. I’m afraid of saying or doing something to hurt someone, because that’s what I thought happened. You made me afraid to say something to hurt someone. For so long, I thought it was my fault that you walked away from our friendship and acted like I was a complete stranger.
I thought it was my fault.
Four years ago when we were friends, I thought of you as a little brother. Now it feels like you’re a stranger. I know you have a soft heart, that you’re actually a kind person. However, that kind person I knew is the same person that acted as if they didn’t know me, looked and judged me as if I was a criminal. My friends wondered why you did that. I wondered for so long why you did that. Why you ignored me and acted as if I were a stranger.
After you walked into the room and didn’t bother to say a hello to me, I kept wondering why. I looked at myself and wondered if I did something to offend you. I examined every memory I had with you, and wondered if it was my fault. I tried to talk to you again, to see why, but you acted as if you didn’t know me. If I tried to touch you in any way, you’d flinch and I would always watch you walk away. Eventually, I knew better than to try.
I stopped trying.
Life continued to carry itself out, but each time I saw you it felt like a ghost was haunting me. Weeks, and months would go by, and we continued to act as if we were strangers. In the school hallways, we acted as if we didn’t know each other. I ignored you each chance I could, and walked away each time you talked to my friends. I would spend sleepless nights wondering what was wrong with our friendship, and how we ended up as we were. My friend would always tell me to talk to you again, to resolve our friendship, but how could I resolve our friendship if I didn’t even know how it broke apart? How was I supposed to talk to you if you didn’t want to? How was I supposed to apologise for a crime I didn’t know I committed?
Weeks passed and became months before you started talking to me. It took me by surprise, and all of a sudden you acted as if we were friends again. You started waving hello and started talking to me in the hallways. It was unexpected, and made me wonder why again. Each time you spoke, it left me speechless and stumbling to find words to an answer as simple as “How was your day?”. It made me want to avoid you, to walk away. It made it hard to forgive you. For a while, I was hesitant to go back to our friendship. As time passed, I decided it would be the right thing to try and become friends again. Like before.
I’ve forgiven you now, but it’s difficult to try and do things like we did before. It’s still hard to talk to you now, whether in person or online. I know that the person I knew before and who you are now are still the same person, but it’s so different. I still spend nights awake wondering what I did that made you walk away, and why did you decide to come back again. The memories we’ve had are nearly nonexistent to me now, because that friendship that we had doesn’t exist anymore. Even if you are forgiven, you broke my trust in you.
Even now when we still act as if we’re friends, you’re a stranger I barely know. I can’t force myself to place my trust completely in you, and I can’t force myself to be at east with you. Your smile makes me hesitant to say anything to you. When you touch me in anyway, I want to push your hands off of me. Sometimes, I want to scream at you in anger and fury, for you to know what it’s like to be me. Sometimes I want to say words that hurt you, that scar you, for you to understand what I’ve been through. But I don’t.
I still care about you, even if we are faking our friendship now, even if we are strangers. I know that you still struggle with your own problems. I know that it’s hard for you to speak to other people, and you put up an outgoing attitude so that you can make friends. I know that if I hadn’t reached out to you four years ago, that if I hadn’t said hello first, you would be lonely. You always seemed to have a hard time to express yourself, and I knew that you didn’t have a lot of friends. In that way, we were similar.
We both put up an attitude to be able to talk to others and hide our problems from the world. I knew how to put up a smile as if there wasn’t anything wrong, and you knew how too. Sometimes I wondered if you felt any guilt about what you did to me, but you never mentioned it. You always acted as if there was nothing between us, as if there wasn’t a large wall that separated us from each other, as if you didn’t take a knife and stabbed me in the place where you knew it would hurt most, because what hurts more than someone abandoning you is not knowing why.
It’s not until many years later, I would learn why you did what you did. In some ways, I’m still angry at you. You acted like you didn’t know me because I wasn’t good enough? I wasn’t cool enough for you? I wasn’t a good enough friend for you? It made me wonder so much, and it made me so angry. And yet, I tried not to hold a grudge against you for it. I know what loneliness feels like, and I know that you feel that more than you let on. You did what you did because you wanted cooler, better friends than me. Here we are, with you being more alone than you were, and you’ve lost the friend that cared about you more than you could ever think of. How does it feel to know that you’ve thrown away something that was worth to you? Did you feel guilty? Did you ever regret it? I will never know because neither of us dares to bring it up. We’re both too scared to break the ice under us, and the wall between us too safe to bring it down. We’re both cowards who are too afraid to mention the truth that will hurt the both of us.
Are you satisfied now? Did you get the friends you wanted? Was throwing me away worth it? Was it worth it, and you thought it was okay to act as if none of it happened? Was it okay with you? Was it all worth it in the end?
We were young, and naive. You taught me not to place my trust in people so quickly, you taught me that people always want more than what you give them. You made me remember that not everything in life is as nice as you want it to be. You made me realize that even if I forgave you, it can’t take away what you’ve put between us. You made me learn that I still care for someone who doesn’t give a thought about me. You made me learn that people can be heartless creatures when they are in pain.
I’m done waiting for an answer now. I’m waiting for something else. After all this time, I’m still waiting. I’m still waiting for you to say something about what you’ve done, to hear everything from your heart. I’m waiting for you to explain yourself, but you never did.
You’ve never apologized.
It probably may come many years from now, or never. I can’t tear down this wall between us without knowing if you truly regret what you did. You don’t give a single sign that you do, and maybe I should give it up. Maybe I should give up being friends, because there’s this distance between us that can’t be erased, and I can’t cross that bridge unless I know that you really do want us to be friends.
Otherwise, I know that I’m still disposable. So here’s my answer.
I’m sorry I’m not the friend you wanted me to be. I’m sorry I’m not good enough. I hope that one day, you’ll be happy, or be a lot happier than when we were friends. Until then, we would never truly know each other, and would never cross that border between us.
Until then, we are still strangers.