Ask The Plant
By Esme Bale
Dear The Plant,
What do you do when you start to drift apart?
At eight years old, I proudly wear my half of a best friends forever necklace, which held the same sacredness as a cross. They tell you you will experience your first break up and it will make you feel like you can’t breathe. At 12 years old, you’re not surprised when your boyfriend in the seventh grade that you avoided as much as possible ends things with you. She’s my BFF, you were but my boyfriend.
It is so shocking when the forever comes to an end. Friends drift apart, even best friends. You don’t get a big cathartic moment, a concrete day to say “this is when it ended”, but just a slow realization over time that you and this person were close and now you’re not. Did I do something? Did you do something? Did we forget what forever means? The magic of girlhood dissipates, and I am left lost, my belief system in my closet, buried under stuffed animals I don’t have the heart to say goodbye to.
I have become a firm believer in the temporary. It’s concerning how much we believe something has more value if it lasts longer. It’s an act of self hate when we worship the forever, the one thing we truly can never be. We cannot truly love one another if we believe it must be forever. To love you, fully, I cannot expect more from you than this moment. I love you for who you really are, a temporary moment, and not for this false sense of security that I will never be alone again. You are temporary, I am temporary, and this world is temporary. Until the sun blows up, I will be alive, letting people and moments go, and then not alive, letting myself go.
I have had beautiful, life-changing friendships that only lasted a few months. In grade ten, I befriended this girl. For a few months, she became my everything. We were unable to go through a class without sending each other notes. After grade 10, I never spoke to her again. I associate her with some of the most important months of my life in terms of emotional growth. We both experienced our first relationships while confiding in each other. I wrote a poem during our friendship that I dedicated to her in which I said “High school is for talking about people for hours with a friend/ But it's never about them/ It's always about us.” I do not associate those months with the boy who hurt me, but with the girl who made me feel less lonely with all these weird new feelings. Together, we shed parts of our girlhood, and welcomed womanhood. In the temporary, the most powerful moments happen: a metamorphosis. I am forever grateful for her. Some friendships are just to experience a growing pain together, and you come out of it different people.
You can still love someone and not have them in your life.
Even though some friendships are meant to be just for a precious moment in time, friendships that will last long term will involve distance as well. As discussed, we are temporary creatures in a constant state of movement. My best friend and I have realized that we are at very different places at this moment in our lives. It is terrifying. Imagine waking up and realizing that everyone around you that you loved is suddenly only speaking a language you can’t understand. It is disorientating and lonely. You desperately want things to feel just right, like they once did. We should try to not fear distance so much. Sometimes, it is more valuable to take a deep breath than it is to speak for the sake of filling up empty space. In the pause between sentences, so much more can be said than a stupid word with a limited meaning. We need to let ourselves grow, become more complex, and experience things we cannot explain to one another, in order to one day be more mature adults that are still giggling together.
As I write this, I am about to go to dinner with a friend that I drifted from and therefore haven’t seen in over a year. It is terrifying. I wonder what happened with all that space.