I’m waiting for the bus but it isn’t here. I check my phone and decide to text you with the delay. My phone tells me it’s delivered and I bask in temporary relief just as the 14 comes. I get on and wait for your reply, your reassurance, your confirmation. But it never comes, and I brush it off and think, well, I’ll see you shortly anyway.
I get off at the right stop and cross the street to the Starbucks you said where we should meet. I go inside and scan for you, but I don’t see you. Clearly you’re running late and this eases my guilt of doing the same. I decide to order anyway and grab us a seat in anticipation of your arrival. It’s a corner spot with the windows in my view. I check my phone. Still no reply. I decide I’ll read before I text you again.
I haven’t read in eight or so weeks. I also haven’t run in a comparable amount of time. I know it’s quite out of character. If you were here in the seat across from me, you would shake your head and ask me why. I would attempt to use the excuses of morning classes and endless meetings and the cliché word of “busy” continuously. You would merely reply, excuses, excuses and I would place my head down in shame and say, epic failure. And we would both then laugh in unison.
But you’re not here, so I take out my book. It’s a little hard to get into. That’s the thing about reading a book or series after so long, the details become a little rusty. The main characters and general plot are ingrained but all secondary characters and subplots are erased. I take out my phone and let Wikipedia remind me of what I’ve forgotten and with ease, the words on the page make sense again.
If only this was true of people.
If only we could easily check one’s Wikipedia page to get the little details forgotten due to time lapses between encounters. I guess there’s social media but I question how objective it is, or how detailed it could be. It’s been a while since I last saw you and Facebook tells me your general life updates, but it doesn’t capture everything. It doesn’t tell me your true sentiments; it merely captures certain flashes of your life. And especially since you hardly use it, I’ve forgotten all your secondary characters and subplots, simply erased from my hazy mind.
It’s not long before I get stuck in the time warp of reading. I flip through pages and pages, not attune to how much time has passed or how you still haven’t arrived. It’s only when I reach for my cup and realize it’s empty, that I check my phone and notice the time. An hour has passed, and I text you again. I order more coffee. I wait. More time passes, more pages are flipped. I text you a few more times but then I start to call. Not so much out of anger, but merely worry and curiosity. I wonder what happened, what kept you from coming even after you insisted on this for so long.
I wonder and wonder. I read. I drink my coffee. I call. Of course you don’t pick up, it goes straight to your voice mail. And I think maybe you’re sleeping, maybe it’s all just a silly little mistake.
Two hours has passed now, it’s becoming that time of day I can never define, the odd transition of late afternoon or early evening. I’ve spent too much money and read enough pages and waited long enough. So I leave you a voicemail and tell you I’m going to go and to call me when you’re free. But we both you know you won’t, we both know it will end like this.
You’ll text me the next day and apologize for never coming. You’ll blame your phone or your lack of data somehow, maybe you slept or maybe “something came up.” It will end with a proposal to reschedule and I’ll reply with no worries and of course and probably a smiley face. Maybe you will text months later and ask to meet again, but one of us won’t show, something will come up. And I guess we’re getting to that point where life persists and friendships cease.
But why do friendships have to end? Why do we easily accept this defeat? Why do the excuses of life, work and busy always persist? Why do we let these aspects of our lives define us? Why can’t we prioritize our friendships? Why can’t we see that the day-to-day affairs are just that — routine courses of actions — while the bigger picture is the people we know and love? When did I become insignificant to you? You have always mattered to me. Even now, I know I should be mad that you ditched me, but I am not.
I am only saddened at your acceptance of our lost friendship and lack of effort to rectify it.
I think of all of this as I walk out and head to the bus stop. I had that hope, that familiar conviction that maybe you and I would begin again. But beginnings aren’t endless, at some point the cycle stops. Life has won and that cliché of adulthood and fading friendships is victorious. I always just thought I could resist, but that must have just been naive childhood innocence.