I was 5 when I left my hometown. It’s more like the place I was living for 5 years, and that was the longest I was in one place. Ever since that, I was moving from place to place with my family. It was because my dad had to move with his job. My mom didn’t want me to grow up without my father around. I was the only child. I love my family and that’s all I got. I used to have friends but eventually, I gave up trying to make friends. It was painful at the end when I had to leave them and everything just to be in my memory. I have been to over 15 places and I’m only 20 years old and currently taking meds for depression. I don’t know if I should pity myself. Sometimes leaving was easy, it was like starting fresh, resetting my messed up and lonely life.
This year it was different. My dad got a permanent position, and it seemed like we were finally settling down. I got into college, and it was a little far from where we recently moved into. So, I had to move into a dorm room and today is the moving day. It’s a lot of mixed emotions for me. Leaving where the place I now call my home and starting a new chapter, again.
As I was entering the dorm room, I saw a girl unpacking her things. She was tall, skinny, and had hair to shoulder length. She looked at me with her brownish-black eyes and then said “Hi, I’m Arsha. You must be Lily. I’m your roommate.” She took her eyes off me and looked around the place. “It’s cozy, right?
I gave her a smile with a nod. We talked for a little while. She was very friendly. The friendliest I have met. Believe me, I know. I have met a fair share of people from all over the country. I had a good feeling we were going to be good friends. I started to unpack my things and then went to the cafeteria to have lunch. We walked around the campus after that. I was feeling excited, this whole new experience was making me feel overwhelmed. This is the first time I was sure how long I was staying and not having to say goodbyes anytime soon made everything reassuring.
Two months passed by and Arsha and I were getting along really well. I am usually shy with people. It was surprising how she made me open up to things. She was smart and wise, not the usual combination to see in most people around my age these days. We had a lot of things in common. We both were the only child. We loved reading and we both had similar tastes in music and food. I was curious to know more about her. I told her about my childhood and the places I have been to. “Wow, lucky you. I don’t think I’ll ever travel to that many places in my whole life.”, I could see the envy in her eyes. She fired me with questions about this and that. It was all about the places I went to. “You seem like you enjoy traveling,” I said interrupting her in the middle of a question. “Yeah, my parents were busy with their work, so I haven’t been anywhere. anywhere out of this city. I don’t want to die without seeing what the world looks like from my eyes”. That last part was dramatic, I know. She usually says and acts dramatically when she wants to hide how desperate she was. That was when I got to know her love for travel. She was a big dreamer and I loved that about her.
Arsha came to visit my family on Christmas break. My parents loved her. She gets along with people perfectly. I got out of being shy under her influence, even though I’m not that much of a people person like her. She left for her home the day after that making that Christmas memorable for us. She was the first friend to come over to my place. Come to think of it, she was the first to a lot of my experiences.
It was in my second year that I found out how people envied my friendship with Arsha. Well to be honest I was fascinated by how close we got. Maybe it’s because I never imagined being this close to anyone. it’s a little cheesy to say but she is my sister from another mother. Whenever she talked about her future I was there. I was there in her plans. It always felt good to be in her thoughts.
After the third-year final exams Arsha, me, and some other friends all went to this party at another friend’s place. Arsha and I were talking in the living and a boy approached us with a smile. “Hey, Ash. How long has it been? 3 years? “. Wait…Ash? How close were they to him to call her Ash? Don’t have to lie, I was a little jealous of how closed they seemed. “This is my friend Lily. And this is Inuk, a family friend of mine”. I smiled and said “Hi”. Then he asked Asha about her parents. “My mom told me you were leaving next year to…” Arsha stopped him from handing over a food plate. It felt like she was shutting him up. We were returning to our dorm and all I could think was how weird Asha was acting. Even though I had sensed something I didn’t want to believe it. So, I didn’t bring anything up neither did she.
One afternoon Natalie who was living next to our dorm room knocked on the door. Asha had left for tennis practice, so I was alone. I opened the door. “Hey, do you have a hair straightener? I left mine at home. I have a dinner party to get ready for.”. “I think Asha had one,” I replied to Natalie and went straight to Asha’s drawer. I opened it and found it. Also, there was a letter that caught my eye. I handed the straightener to Natalie and closed the door. I know this is not right, this is not who I am. I respected her privacy, and she did too. But the fact that she was hiding something bothered me to act responsibly. I pulled the letter out and started reading it. “Dear Asha Cumberbatch, we are happy to announce your request has been accepted regarding the foreign student exchange. Academic will commence on….” I knew it. I knew it all along. She was leaving me. She was leaving me for good. It almost gave me a stroke trying to understand.
Nearly one hour later she came back from practice. “Dude I’m exhausted. I think I’m getting the hang of it you know, tennis.” She said while sitting on her bed. “Oh yeah? Tell that to your next friend when you go to Italy.” She was staying while looking down and didn’t bother to say anything. “How could you hide this from me?” I continued despite her silence. “Did our friendship mean nothing to you? you are leaving I mean Italy? Really?”. She finally looked up. Honestly, I didn’t expect her to cry. “I couldn’t find the right time. What? You don’t mean much to me? I couldn’t tell you because you mean so much to me. I know what I did was wrong. I don’t want to say goodbye either. But this was my plan. This was what I wanted to do from the beginning, long before I met you.” it was ugly, our fight. How fast something beautiful could be ruined, I wondered. “Get out, leave me alone,” it can’t be me. This is not me. I mean I did say that but this is not who I am. Usually, I’m the one who’s leaving people. This is the first time for me. She was the first one to leave. …’ Come to think of it, she was the first to a lot of my experiences.’
We didn’t talk for over a month. I had stopped taking meds for depression in my second year, but this month it was harder for me to bear. I used to think back then when we were perfectly happy, everything was too good to be true. I guess I was desperate for a friend after all. She was there for me all the time for the last 3 years. I don’t know how to survive without her.
I could feel my anger fading out, leaving behind the sadness and regret, of how I reacted that day. It was wrong of her to do this to me; I deserve better than this. But I wanted to look into all the good things she did and forgive her for one thing she did wrong. She’s probably going to leave in 3 or 4 weeks. People say that you learn something from every person you meet in your life. She made a big impact on my life. I just didn’t think she was going to be someone I passed by in my life. I wanted us to look back someday and think of our friendship as a beautiful memory, a memory that you want to return to. I still had the chance to make things right. It’s better late than never, right?
I knocked on the dorm room door. She opened it and looked a little surprised. I was already crying though I told myself not to cry on the way. I said, “I don’t care how much time we have, we are going to live our best life.” she tried to hide her tears with a smile. “You will always be my friend, as long as we live under the same sky and breath the same air, we are still together. We will always be together.”
She wiped her tears and started to laugh.” That was a bit dramatic Lily. Since when did you try to copy me?” I ended up laughing with her.
Days flew without our notice. It was our last day together. I tag along with her to the airport. This was it, I thought to myself, this exact moment, it’s going to be a memory. Everything is going to be a memory.
She’s going to make new friends, travel, and live her own life. I was a part of her past, not the future and I can’t do anything to change that. There were times I wanted to beg her to stay. But I’m sure we crossed paths in life for a reason. And we were meant to take separate ways. I’m proud she dared to do what she wanted to do with her life. she was walking toward the counter. Is she’s going to look back? Come on Ash turn around. And she did, she smiled at me, it felt like the first day I met her in the dorm room.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. –
Written by: Ravisha Kawindi
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