It is a strange place to be meeting, at twenty. In many ways, we still have the hearts of children. Yet adulthood is hurtling itself at us – in another 10 years and we’ll be pigeonholed into little flats, with our little clones, or a perhaps a couple of cats, or both. We meet on the runway, passing each other by as we take flight, leaving only traces.
In this way, everything was breaking up in front of me. I began to notice it, in text messages that fell flat, letters so full of fluid verbosity that the most important things were not conveyed, in those moments, side by side, talking ad nauseam about the tiresome details of student life, and you suddenly remember that once, we actually liked to sit and look at the sky. I was losing things that were very important to me, not knowing if I would get them back.
When did words begin to fail? There ought to be so much more to say – like the fact that I’m sorry. Sorry I was never a good listener to you, sorry that the most important things happened right in front of my eyes and I never noticed, sorry that I couldn’t be there in the most crucial moments. And also, those secrets – that to me your happiness is really more important than my own, that I sometimes think I understand more than I dare to convey, that in the deepest part of me my wish is really just to make you feel that you’re okay.
There is such a weight of words that passes into silence, ever reaching second. All that love allows and does not allow. Life is about letting go, so a friend said to me. Perhaps I begin to understand.
Time will not show mercy. Already we are taking flight, soon we will land. Already twenty, soon forty, and then eighty. Very soon, in the blink of an eye, all this will be over. And you hope that by that time you would have said what you needed to say. But even if you haven’t, the loss will lie where it falls. We are all leaving, anyway.
Imagine you are on your death bed. And you are told that right now, you can visit ten friends, just for a short while, and for the last time. Who would you pick? Where would you meet? Would you like to call her name one last time as you rush past each other on a busy street? Would you like to find him in a secluded house in a deep forest, sitting in a corner of a room, waiting for you? What would you say? Would you say what has been on your heart all this while? Or would you speak as though you had endless tomorrows? Or would you just sit, side by side and say nothing at all?
Who would leave first? Would you get up, and smile, and say you must be going now? Or would you be left behind as she walks out the door, rushes past you, steps into the train – goodbye, it was nice seeing you. And then your eyes blur for the last time.
How very quickly, we pass each other by. So hold close to what is important to you, until the very end.