Sunday August 12, 2012
Growing up, but never apart
By REBECCA SANTHANASAMY
HAVING glided through multiple “best friends” during primary school, I was wary of any new friendships, even at that young age. And then my Primary Six “best friend” didn’t turn up at the same secondary school as me, despite assuring me that she would.
On that day I told myself I was not going to get attached to anyone, ever.
But on that same day, another girl came into my life. I remember my dad calling me over and saying, “This is my friend’s daughter. She’s also in Form One.”
And she extended her hand to me, saying: “Hi, I’m Jayashree.”
Little did I guess during that brief handshake that this girl would eventually stick with me through thick and thin.
Those five years in St George’s were a great experience. Amusingly, we never declared ourselves best friends for the better part of those years. Maybe my “best friend phobia” played a part in that. Instead we drifted in and out of different “gangs”. We had a pleasant, if not so close friendship. She was a joy to have around, always bubbly, with a warm smile.
We grew closer during our final year together, after which I left for university while she stayed on to do Form Six. And we diligently kept in touch through letters. (Yes, it was the era of letters; cell phone usage was not widespread and Facebook might not have even existed yet.)
It was that first separation that actually brought us closer. In these 16 years, we’ve faced many different challenges in keeping the friendship going. We had almost the breadth of Malaysia between us (she’s in Kedah and I’m in Johor); we went months without meeting up in person (university holidays had an annoying way of NOT coinciding) and, later on, not having much contact (each caught up with hectic studies), and even no means of contact (she was posted to a place with NO cell phone reception; don’t ask).
But we had those yearly Deepavali and Christmas visits to look forward to. And the hours of chit-chat when we did meet up. Her dad used to wonder how we never ran out of things to talk about.
She was there for me during the happiest moments of my life; she consoled me for every disappointment I had, encouraged me, and didn’t hesitate to reprimand me when needed. All these years, we have laughed and cried together.
She is the one who, till this day, tells me that I’m special as I am, and then proceed to tell me that the person who hurts me will pay (true friend, I told you). My heart is always lighter whenever I talk to her.
I, on my part, have journeyed with her through most of her happy and sad moments alike. And I had the blessing of sharing her precious moments, right from her engagement to her marriage.
My dear friend got married last year. Though I feared that things would change and we might drift apart after that, it seems like God has other plans. Yes, things have changed, but our friendship hasn’t. Thankfully her husband is very understanding and appreciates our friendship. And now, as she expects her first child, I am just as excited to welcome that little bundle of joy.
My 13-year-old self was hesitant about getting attached to anyone, but it seems like I didn’t get attached to J. Instead, we both grew together.