The Evanescence of Friendship

By Christina Kim - March 11, 2015

Grinning faces displaying wide rows of white teeth (crooked, gummy and clear gaps) colored by the rosy beams among the bobbing heads of a multitude of cropped hair, tousles, clean shaves and ponytails decorate the slightly yellowed photographs staring back at me.
Shades of yellow taint the sides and are obvious reminders of the age of the scene which took place in the photographs; if not the innocence of youth as depicted by the hopeful looks in each and every one in the group.
It was yet another class photograph I had in my box where I stored all my memories of yesteryear.

"Those were the days" were  words one would commonly utter when taking that nostalgic visual journey through the photographs, which are perhaps one of the best ways to be reminded of the past which is history today.
There is no turning back, no point of return to the days as they were before.
That is the way life is designed; we are always moving forward and every moment today will be a thing in the past tomorrow.

It brings meaning to the notion of “Living each day to the fullest” and to “Live with no regrets”.

Though it is impossible to return to the days or time before, memories are not something that could easily go away or erased from one’s mind just in a blink of an eye.
Memories were not made of degradable materials that one could just dispose of them and they return, with no harm or damage to the environment. 
No, that is something memories are never made of.

Memories are times shared; the good, the bad, the series of events which pass through one’s journey, and in their interactions with the people they meet and cross path with along the way.
It is a trove of countless laughter, tears, heartaches, surprises, disappointments, fears and a myriad of feelings forming long-winded episodes of a story which could be left never ending were the thread left to reel from its roll.
It is inexplicable, yet this thread of bittersweet unwinds in length, revealing those stories in a captivating and intertwining manner.

I have often spoken of friendships in different manners, and have also come to learn to view it from the various perspectives.

Some of these friendships, formed in our earliest years in life, could last for a lifetime.
Some could be just for a day old, or perhaps a few years and then we could be disconnected, for reasons unforeseen and untold.
Some may start off great then turns awkward midway and then end abruptly or in an unpleasant manner, leaving bitterness in the respective hearts.
Some could be the direct opposite of the former; whereby unpleasant impressions were formed from the beginning but trudged on amidst the differences and formed a strong bond, adhering to all parties and paved for an everlasting journey.
There are many stories that live to be told of friendships, and every one of us has our very own versions and perceptions of friendships.

I have even compared friendships as ships flocking to the pier, or even sailing out in the big wide sea out there.
At some point, like ships, we do gather together at a place, at the same time, and stay for a while.
We make friends, we meet people, we make an affable impression (or not), we cross paths, we help each other and then the time may come when we may need to move on to our next destination on our very own pre-determined or unplanned shipping route.

There is no hard fast rule to making friendships stick or to remain in that time zone, for everyone has their own paths to follow eventually, especially when one is in the early budding years of one’s life.

There is no prediction of the future, and whether the friendship will remain or change, though it very much depends on each individual and the will to keep the spark going.
Yet there is always that tiny factor of uncertainty, for things happen and circumstances could change a person. 
It is all part and parcel of life.

We cross paths with many in our life; some just a brief encounter, yet there are those that we stick with or even end up being the best of friends until the end of our lives.
Like passing ships, there is no end nor is there a fixed schedule as to who, where and when we will meet each other or whether we could tell who we would stick with and count on at anytime, though of course, I am sure there are always that reliable good old anchors we can always rely on.

As I look back at the old photographs, I am reminded of the days and the people I used to hang out with and engage in deep conversations, and also crazy chatters taking place over the phone and at the back of the class.

I am not that outgoing in nature back then in school, focusing most of my time on my books but still, I remembered the book lover friends, the extracurricular mates, the Prefectorial team, the partners-in-crime in competitions and literature and the many more that I have crossed paths with; even the phone buddies whom I could stay on the line for hours (yes, I come from the age when we still use telephones and letters). 
I even have pen pals whom I would write to on a weekly basis, and whose letters could keep me in anticipation and excitement when they arrive by post.

I wonder at where these people are today.

Granted, some are still in my contact lists until this very day, and there are also new found friendships which stuck while the older ones moved on, parting ways due to the different directions in life.

It is not that we are no longer friends with each other or we do not want to be friends with each other, but it is just about the directions in life that each of us head on, pursuing our individual ambitions.

The friendship did not end, but it just phased out in the spark compared to the schooling days.

Like ships, we were at the same time, same place, and heading in the same direction at the time.

School was about blending together, learning new knowledge and lessons in life and of course, the examinations which brought every one of us together towards a common goal; to excel and to graduate with flying colors, or at least, to make it through school.
It was that common harbor where we dock temporarily.

Some of us moved to a different location halfway through; due to parents’ work requirements or for other reasons.
Some stuck through from primary school until high school, and then jetted off to another country for further studies; while there are also those who moved to another state or different part of the country.
All these lead to the parting as we bade our tearful goodbyes and vow to stay in touch and then everyone continues on their life journey, discovering what life has in store for them.

There is no black or white; right or wrong to the entire concept of friendship, even when discomfort or differences arise.
It can be a choice, but it can also be situational.

I used to feel sad at the discontinuity of friendships, or even despair over something I could have done wrong to lose some of my friends; and stare at that empty gap which was previously filled by laughter with the ones in my very own company. 
It feels weird to no longer share that special connection, and it seems to be a loss.
Could it be something I have done? Have I offended my friend?
It seems so weird that there is a gap, and that we seems to have lost some of the people we used to be so close to. The gap, the distance, just seems awkward and uncomfortable, and then we wonder, "What went wrong?"

The thing is, Do we really lose our friends?

It is not about losing the friends, rather, it should be viewed as the different directions every one of us is heading.
We did not lose each other, it is just the incoherence of timing and location and, the circumstances which changed the nature or purpose of the friendship.

Friendships should not be viewed as lost, or forgotten, for it is simply a course of nature that everyone moves on to pursue different things sought in life.

Of course, there is always a choice to keep the spark going, but situations could bring different groups of people together.
It is about the similarity and the commonality of the goals determining that path of the continuity of one’s journey. We flock with the people sharing our visions and are somehow present in our lives at that point of time.
It is not a wrong thing to do, for people are drawn together due to affinity and we drift apart due to diversity.

It is just plain old logic, and there is nothing to be sad about.
Sure, memories could tug at the heartstrings once in a while, but it is now a whole new perspective altogether as I see it today.

Despair as you may at the old memories, but there is that truth in the saying,
It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”, though I am not using the ‘Lost’ word as emphasized in my personal take.

It is wonderful to have met many people and formed the beautiful friendships on my journey of life thus far, and many have even made an impact, leaving little footprints still visible to this very day.

This is a message to my friends, and to those I have met or crossed paths at some point in my life,

I am blessed to have met you on my journey; be it for a short or long period of time, or even if it is just for a brief moment.
I am thankful for all the lessons you have taught me; the good, the bad, and everything that came along with them
I am sorry for the times I may have behaved childishly, or in any way offended any of you
I am happy that we have at least met, and exchanged in encounter at school, work or for any occasion because that brief presence and meeting have now contributed to my growing bank of memories, and I am grateful that you are part of them for it must have been my gift
I may have been hurt as well, but I think we all make mistakes, even myself
Forgetting may be hard but forgiving is a choice I can make

None of us can predict what the future brings or whether today’s friendship will be one that will be sealed in the tomb, but I say, we ought to rejoice that fate has brought us all together at one point in our lives and that we have been friends for a while.

The liking and happiness grew in our hearts, the tears made us stronger and the tests just enriched our outlooks in life.

It is a blessing to have crossed paths, rather than never, whether we made it through as friends or even as foes.

It was by fate and coincidence we have met, but it was by choice that we were linked and even became friends.

To some of you whom I have not spoken to for a while, you are always there on my mind and I wish you well though we may not be on the same path of life’s journey anymore and I am sure you are discovering the wonderful gifts life is bringing to you as well.

To those I am still in contact with on a regular basis, let’s keep the momentum going as far as we can.

To those I have not yet met (future), I look forward to meeting you! :-)

Memories are not made to make us miserable as we look back at them someday in the future, they are sheer reminders of the tiny paths we have taken along the way.

They are there like a painting on a canvas to tell us the stories of our past; the colors that have botched or blended to near perfection.
They are storytellers of our past, our teachers of wisdom and a window into our life history.

Nobody is perfect and should never be made to feel inadequate in any way.

Be happy that we have memories and great stories to tell, embrace the beautiful events which have taken place in our very own personal journeys

Friendships are not without ups and downs, nor uncertainties but cry as you may when they end, then get ready to move on to the next phase.
Time and tide waits for no man.

Do not live in past regrets, but make life as fulfilling in being ready for everything that comes our way.
The brush and color palette is in our hand, we won’t want to hold back too long or that new canvas is not going to be filled with colors of the past for our future viewing.

Let the past be sweet reminders, and let’s look forward to more colorful pictures and photographs to look back at us and continue filling the little treasure box with memories of each and every single day.

Friendships will continue, if we let them and if not, just let go and just let the wind take control of our sails for that’s what life is all about.

Perhaps that's the evanescence of friendship; it may slowly fade away but it didn't mean it was never there or that it never happened.

Like everything else, we just need to move on and be happy that we have created memories from our experiences.
Arrivals, departures, residences, relocations all make up the essence and rhythms of life, without which would be a boring straight line with no excitement.

So, make the most of everything and your friendships; while not all will last for eternity, be happy that it once, like a butterfly, stopped and sat on the flower of your heart even if it's just for a while.
It is the beauty of that moment that is more important than to hold the butterfly down, for butterflies, like ships are not made to stop at one location.

Friendships, are just like ships and fluttering butterflies, they will settle and then will pass.

Make the most of your stops and cherish the moments for one day, these memories will make your life story and bring that smile to your face :-)

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