Being a friend 10,000 miles away

When I was in high school (in my freshman year, I believe), I wrote a term paper on friendship.  I read this book that made a case study of the dynamics of Friendship which was pretty profound reading for me at that time.  I don’t even remember the title of the book, but I still remember some of the examples that were enumerated by the author to illustrate the different types of friendship.  Even at such a young age, friendship was already such a fascination and a dire need for me.

I have a lot of “one-of” friends who have a special kind of closeness with me, but very few of whom I can put in a locked room together with any of my other friends.  Let’s just say they each have their own unique traits and the only common denominator among them is me.

I miss them.. I miss those friendships.  It’s still there but the distance has made the relationships evolve or fade or change in a way beyond description.

Some things have not changed — like the warm and fuzzy feeling that envelopes you when you think about these friends who have been a part of your life for the longest time.  Yet if there is one thing I’ve realized, the length of time I’ve had one as a friend doesn’t always mean that that person is my closest or truest friend.  The truest and closest is not always your best friend, best being the true sense as an adjective and not a noun.  Sometimes, the less than perfect slightly crazy friend turns out to be that best friend.  The one who, through time, comes back time and again to see you baring your soul and still loves you anyway.  No matter how hurtful your words may be, she hugs you at the end of the day and tomorrow, your friendship remains unchanged.

There are those new people who walk into your life casually and make their home in your heart as if they had been a kindred spirit from a previous life you only vaguely know of at the back of your mind.  Sometimes, even people you have yet to meet  but whose voice you have heard in writing or on the phone or in the chat leave such a profound mark you cannot help but count them among your friends.  Just like this unofficial blog group we’ve formed — where we visit one another’s blog and interact as if we were friends who meet for coffee or chat on the phone regularly.  Or those who just read and react to the things I write here, as if I were consulting or talking to a friend..

So I read my bestfriend’s words as she types crying about the burden she carries.  I wish I could be there to do more than listen.  I have tried to do my part on this side of the world, researching on the reason for her burden — but it’s not quite the same.  I cannot sit with her in Cafe Adriatico to thresh out the problem or just while away the afternoon passing time to take her mind off her worries, even if only momentarily.

Another bestfriend has moved to California, so much closer to where I am now — embarking on a new chapter in his new family’s life.  I wish I were closer to him, but 3,000 miles is definitely closer than 10,000.  We spoke two weeks ago and did a major catch up — it was as if we just spoke the week before, as if there wasn’t a bigger chasm between us when he was in Manila and I moved here.

I guess that is what distinguishes true friendships — through the heartaches and the disappointments is an unbreakable thread of hope that keeps you together in spirit even when you are literally a world apart.  And in the interim between the long lulls in that friendship, the silence does not cause the love to fade, but rather it holds yesterday and today together in a warm embrace.

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