An Open Letter To The Friend Who Disappeared From My Life

Tim Gouw

Our friendship was short, but never brief. You were the spark in my otherwise dim year, and even though you were loud and never had a filter for the words you said – you were an amusing friend to have. In the beginning, I would shrug and pretend not to know you. A month into our friendship, I began involuntarily saving a seat for you in class every week.

Our friendship was a castle built around food, because that’s how we expressed our care for each other. It began when I brought you a brownie, and continued when you reciprocated with your favorite coffee. Then, we went on to bigger and more delicious things. We’d skip class for massive llaos, spend birthdays at Japanese restaurants, brave the rain for beautiful cakes. The calories were endless, but our friendship was a chubby happy child. Even the others thought we were dating because i’d come bearing you breakfast in the form of homemade Kimchi fried rice, and you’d come with Chae Tow Kway for mine.

We never planned these things, we just were.

Our friendship was akin to fireworks, starting off slow but then exploding into something so beautiful but so raw. I found it difficult to hear the things you often said, not just to me but to everyone else. Yet, after I got to know you, to truly know you, I began to understand. You don’t filter your words because your heart was always in the right place. As much as a person would hate to hear the things you said, a friend needed to hear your words. The sugar came from this enlightenment. I took your advice to heart and always worked on it, and look where I am today.

I’ve become you in a way, not being politically correct, but loving my friends boldly and fiercely just as you do.

Our friendship was an adventure, because it really was. You knew how sheltered I was, so you’d take me out from my little glass globe and show me your world. You’d dress me up in styles I would never have drifted towards, and you’d show me a side to things I never thought was possible. You helped me to see that I could be more than who I thought I was, because you believed in me.

You saw that I was more than a little princess, you believed I could be a Queen.

Our friendship was beyond the norm, because we cared for each other in ways normal friends aren’t capable of. It was almost as if you were treating me like a little sister, and you were the elder brother that would tilt his umbrella towards me to keep me dry. Even though the right arm of your ridiculously expensive pullover, your favorite pullover, my favorite pullover of yours, would get wet, I was what mattered. You were the brother that scolded the bullies and kept the drama way. You were the brother that walked on the outer side of the pavement. I always thought I needed a boyfriend for all of that, but I never realized that my world could be safe in your hands.

But I know now that my world was safe because you were in it.

Our friendship was a whispered promise – or it used to be. When I was leaving, you pulled me in close. I buried my head into your chest and our favorite pullover, trying not to forget. You promised that no matter how far I go and for how long that you would always be there. That even if I couldn’t find my way home, that you’d be the guiding lights I needed to return. You told me to take flight, you promised that I deserved only the best. You told me to reach for the stars, you promised you would not forget.

And with your promises anchoring me to home, I spread my wings.

I still look at it. Every day.

In the morning I would trace my fingertips across the delicate pen strokes, dancing along with the angel as she reached for the heavens.

I still look at it. Every day.

I can’t believe you’re gone, but the hardest part of this all is not knowing why.

I still look at it. Every day.

But the fond memories it used to invoke are replaced with questions that I alone cannot answer.

I still look at it. Every day.

I tried, I really did. I begged myself to dig further, but nothing comes to mind. Our friendship was food, fireworks, an adventure but I never thought it would be an end. Now all I can do is look at it and try to comprehend why the one who took flight was you and not me. TC mark

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