I knew, going into freshman year, that I would see very few of my friends after I graduated. At the time, their company was worth the weight of a school day, and past that I would only really see them at parties. With the exception of my closest friends, I left everyone behind after high school. What was surprising to me, that there were a number of people whom I regretted leaving behind. The social aspect of school was of very little importance to me, I was more interested in the opportunities and experiences that many of my classes offered to me (I was lucky enough to end up in a collegiate high school). Still, when you spend years together with people from all walks of life, you're bound to forge unbreakable bonds with at least a few of them. It has been roughly more than two years since I graduated. I started working in the last semester of my senior year, and that career took of shortly after I graduation. I hadn't really put much thought into how much I missed certain people, because I had made an effort to leave as much behind as possible, save for the tools and opportunities I gained that carried the potential to enrich my life. As shitty as it sounds to avoid people who genuinely cared about me, some of which even relied on me, I figured that being an "adult" was more important, and that they would find their own way. For many people I was right, and for those who are still clinging onto the last semblance of their angst filled teenage years, I'm better off without them. I've had the pleasure of watching my friends all mature into working-class educated adults, that benefit society, as well as being a wonderful and welcome presence in my life. Others, that meant a great deal to me, left my life with uncertain times ahead for them, and I was left to merely speculate at their fate. I deeply regret not keeping in touch with them, and giving them the support few others were willing to. I suppose my mistake was treating social interaction in high school as trivial, since it was only school and a very small part of what life has to offer. Of all the things I devalued, because of the time that they entered my life, that was the one thing I should have cherished. Luckily, life sometimes throws you second chances.
Today, I ran into someone who I thought I would never see again. A very close individual, who had been like a big sister for me since I was fairly young. She kept me safe when I was emotionally vulnerable, kept me grounded when I became full of myself, and was always encouraging to me when I dreamed big dreams for my future. She was like a 3rd party observer, floating in and out of my life at seemingly random times, never actually intervening directly with the events that transpired around me. The time we spent together, however, was almost surreal in the way that it just broke social expectations. I remember we danced intimately in the middle of class, just because we could. God, would we find the strangest ways to get into trouble. We snuck out onto the roof, from the second floor, on exam day. It was creatively liberating, albeit silly That's just how we were together, creatively liberated from expecations. Sadly, towards the end of our high school career, one of her boyfriends introduced heroine into her life. It was soul crushing, to watch something like that happen and have no power to stop it. From the looks of things when we graduated, it seemed as if she would be dead in less than a year, and I knew that I would probably hear about it months after it happened. I had given up hope on someone who deserved better. She had a miscarriage a months before graduation day, and when graduation day finally arrived, she never stopped shaking, almost too badly to accept her diploma. It really did seem hopeless. She had different plans for herself, than the fate I had internally condemned her to. I found that out today, while I was out getting groceries. She didn't even recognize me, as I've drastically cleaned up my appearance. I can't say I recognized her either. She looked so healthy, so happy. When she did realize who was staring at her, she pulled me into one of the warmest hugs I've ever experienced. Every moment her and I had spent together came flooding back, and it had never felt so good to be close to a friend. She told me how she had cleaned up her life, how she was living with the young man she's dating (and how he treats her right), and she told me what a relief it was to see I was okay. Despite the state her life was in at the time we parted ways, she never stopped fretting over my well being. Hearing that nearly brought me to tears. She is a shining example of what it means to care about someone, and to love them unconditionally.
I confessed my doubts about her, and the guilt I felt for abandoning her like that. She forgave me, telling me I had every right to, considering the state she was in. I don't know if I believe that she could have deserved that, but I do believe that I have a second chance. Her and I exchanged numbers, and are planning on meeting up at an upcoming concert. I look forwarding to catching up with her, and sharing at least one more day with her. I realized that there is no such thing as a trivial friendship. When someone genuinely cares about you, that's irreplaceable. Even if someone changes in such a way that they're painfully removed from you life, it doesn't lesson the value of the time you spent with them, and those memories should be cherished always. I'm happy to have met the people I have in my life, and spent the time with them that they've graciously given. I'm happily looking forward to all of the people that have yet to enter my life, and the time I'll spend with them.