There was a time when receiving even the most insignificant message from you would have been simply incredible — when it would have told me that, no matter what was happening, I still crossed your mind. Because as we all know, silence is the most brutal statement one can make. Screaming about how much you hated me or telling me I was ugly, well, it would have been tolerable. Hate and love are two sides of the same coin; the true opposite of love is apathy. And if you had screamed, I would have known that regardless of how hard you tried to convey your disdain for me, I still meant enough to you to write a few words, to make your sentiments known. But you remained silent, and so I shut up as well.
I have lost people in my life before — I have a choice soul or two with whom I can no longer speak. Even acknowledging their existence, or confronting them with mine, would be just too ugly and pour salt into too many wounds. There are bridges I have burned out of necessity. Yours was simply abandoned, left untended for years until weeds grew through it and the railing fell apart and it became something you might take a black-and-white picture of, but you could never cross again. It was unsafe, destroyed by neglect. And that hurt more — to see something just erode into oblivion is so much more brutal than to cover it with gasoline and to toss a match on it. I wanted fireworks, to go out with a bang. I guess that’s human nature.
And the time that we didn’t speak went from a simple act of convenience into a border which could no longer be crossed. There is an invisible moment in time, a line of sorts, that you traverse at a certain point in a mutual silence. It is the time when, from then on, starting a conversation would be awkward and jagged and require an embarrassed explanation of why you haven’t spoken in so long. We crossed that point a long time ago, whether I wanted to or not, and I knew that going back would be fruitless. Acknowledging each other was over, and it was time to accept the quiet death of a friendship that had taken place.
Of course, I still hoped that you would reach out. One day you would extend your hand and say that you were sorry, that things were okay, that we don’t need to keep this uncomfortable distance. You would tell me that we were being immature, that life is too short, and many other cliches that we could nod in agreement on. I waited for it consciously, then without thinking of it, and eventually I wasn’t waiting at all. My life began to continue, and your peripheral existence didn’t factor in. I was happy without it, and the fact that you weren’t a part of everything was no longer a tangible hole needing to be filled.
Every day became more and more about what was good, enjoyed fully without a nagging sense of “if only I could share it with this person.” I made new friends, and strengthened ties with old ones. I no longer thought about our silence, about our depressing ending, about the fact that we’d never again stay up all night watching internet videos and drinking beer. It was simply a chapter in my life that had closed, and the ending seemed appropriate. We can’t appreciate or understand the endings of things when they’re happening, of course, but with a little distance they usually parse themselves out. We were right to go our separate ways, and I know we’re both the better for it — even if we can’t pinpoint exactly why.
So there’s no need to apologize, to come and say something, to awkwardly jump-start a conversation that goes nowhere in a matter of minutes. There’s no need to acknowledge what happened, or talk about the things we would have done differently. Our lives are filled with things we could have done better, but I know you well enough to know that just because things end on a bad note doesn’t mean all the wonderful music before was worthless. I won’t let the ugly end color my memories of you. But we are no longer the same people, and there’s no reason to force a false friendship because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia.
It’s the holidays, and we are remembering the people we left behind. But sometimes remembering is enough. You’re surrounded by your loved ones, and I with mine, and there’s no need to toast because the season tells us we should. We’re all okay, and there are so many exciting things in front of us — let’s let that be enough.