Of Goodbyes and Tears

Pakhi’s best friend is moving, and I have been crying since morning.

I teared up when I saw their goodbye at school time — she was going to school, and the friend was asleep. She tried to hug, the friend pushed her away. But I held them up, I did not want the girls to see them.

They are 6. And they have no idea of what’s happening. They don’t realize that they may never meet again, and even if they do, it will never be the same again. They grew up at each other’s place, they fought and made up every single day; but in the past 4 years, they haven’t been away.

But why am I crying? Why is it that the separation, which may not affect them much, is affecting me so much? I don’t know. Or maybe I do.

My friends had always meant a lot to me. They were above everything in my life — parents, family, siblings. They were my support system, they were my shield. To a shy, introverted kid, they were a crutch and a voice. To the awkward teenager, they were a reassurance. But there was always a problem. I always had to leave them.

Father’s job ensured that we moved every two years. It also meant uprooting everything and planting it in a new soil all over again. It came easy to them — my parents, the vagabonds — or that is how it seemed to me. But I was always hurt. It took me weeks to speak to a new person and months to make a friend, before the cycle continued. Every time, I would promise myself that I will not attach myself to someone, every time I did, and every time, I was hurt.

Nobody was responsible for my hurting of course. Not the friends, not the parents, not the situations. Nobody other than me. This went on for years — until I left college and came to Delhi. Delhi had everything, but I was still lost. I took ill, I got depressed, I stopped eating. It went on for months.

But we humans are resilient. I was too. It took me years but I changed myself. Never again did I let anyone so close that their moving would scar me (or maybe I did), and as a result, even though I have some great friends, I maintain a distance lest I hurt myself again. I tell myself I am stronger than my sentiments.

Since I saw the girls this morning, laughing and bidding goodbyes, all the goodbyes of my life have been running in loop in my head. The forgotten faces have been making appearances, reminding how incomplete I am without them. And along with the memories all the pent up tears of twenty years are coming out too. I only hope I can stop this before the girls return. For I don’t want them to be weak like their mother.

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