I dreamt about her again.
It wasn’t the result of a calculated effort to conjure her before sleep had me.
I’m not homosexual. She happens to be a childhood friend I am no longer in touch with.
The last time we spoke was probably two years ago. We added each other on Facebook, and for a while, it seemed like our differences had been rather petty for us to stop talking.
But one day, I merrily landed on her virtual wall to post something I don’t remember now, and I finally saw the elephant in the room.
We weren’t really friends. In retrospect, I feel our catching up after a tiff had more to do with tying lose ends than forgetting and moving on.
After I was done blocking her (I consider the gesture on her part extremely rude. It’s like someone bombs you in the face and runs away. I’d have liked a word at least, however awkward.)
I went back to my life and without my best friend, boy did it seem difficult.
We had grown up in primary school together, them drifted apart in middle school where I grappled with the coltish awkwardness of speaking to anyone who wasn’t my friend for the first time and she perfected her cusses in Hindi and ran away with her boyfriend after school. (Yes, dad. Waaaaaay more people did this stuff in school than you suspect.)
In, I don’t know, the ninth grade? That’s when we started talking again. If you’ve ever had a wingman, you’ll know how awesome it feels- like the click of two clickety things fitting together.
We were inseparable tomboys, keepers of each other’s secrets and guardians of one another’s back.
One did not have to be told what the emergency was: like gears, if I had turned to the left, she knew it was left and hustled along.
Ninth grade is also when I grew into a major pain in the arse for my parents. Till the eighth grade, I had ranked in the top three students in the class (eventually teacher’s pet- I felt extremely lonely during that time because I had no friends).
In the ninth, I busied myself with friends (… and guys.) I renounced the idea of grades to gauge someone’s potential (I might have relied on that one for too long to explain the nosedive in my class performance)
The mood was belligerent- I wanted to grow up ASAP. I wanted a cellphone and the freedom to come and go as I wanted and more money and a shelf in my room like that one I saw there, yada yada yada.
I would eventually become a lay Buddhist practitioner towards the end of the ninth grade, but that in no way diminished the brilliance of my stupidity.
All along, she was there to assure me that it would be okay. Another close friend of ours would often state in her i-KNOW-it matter of fact tone that teenage was the worst time one has to face.
This is also the person who complained that after a night of drinking on her birthday in high school, get parents asked her to come home by 4 in the morning.
So unfair, you guys.
Coming from her, I often doubted if she knew what it was like to be brought up by typically middle class Indian family.
(… She grew up in the States.)
(She tried to harm herself in school, once. Sixth grade, I think. I never liked that people made fun of such dark time in her life, no matter how stupid the cause.)
So we three were close knit friends. We’d often spend time at each other’s place (hardly at mine- something that annoyed my parents to no end: ‘why do you have to go to their homes all the time? Why can’t they pay you a visit for once?’ Sigh.)
Then the third friend left for Bangalore, because hey, high school. In a matter of months, the other left for a school in Delhi, but we all promised to never let the miles come between us.
Were we ever so naive?
A misunderstanding on her end led her to decide she doesn’t want to talk to me again, while I grew tired of following their standards and habits when it came to language and thought unfortunately, not grades. They somehow scored better; I’d given up on our shallow education system, it seems.
Today I dreamt we were discussing how come we both owned a pair of Spongebob Squarepants boxers with a Tweety Bird on it ( I own a pair without the bird IRL. Great job with originality, Brain.)
It felt so natural, us talking like this, about a pair of boxers.
Then we scooted around the city trying to find a certain place to wish a certain lady who swept the premises a happy Eid.
The absurdity woke me up. Old times, old times. I won’t deny I miss her. But Brain, enough already?
Do you wish you could meet an old friend again?