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Don’t you love it when you’re enjoying a nice sleep and dreaming peacefully about something and then all of a sudden a long-lost best friend pops up and decides to leave you with feelings of pain and nostalgia long after you wake up? No? Maybe it’s just me.

But I know it’s not just me. We all have those friendships that we miss, whether it was time or distance or death or anger or just growing up that ripped you apart from one another. Maybe you won’t think about them in years, and suddenly you have a dream or see an old picture or drive past your old high school and you feel a sudden wave of pain and bittersweet memories.

We all know the old saying: someone is in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Well, let me preface that by saying I think that statement is bullshit and is just a nice way to say “hey! Those people that you currently think are amazing and will be with you forever? It’s a lie! They’re going to disappear one day and you’ll be left thinking “Oh! They must have been in my life to help me survive high school/get my first dog/not blow myself up in chemistry lab! It all makes sense now and I am in no way upset that they’re not in my life anymore because they were a reason friend and not a lifetime friend!””. It’s a nice way to try to console the pain of losing someone close to you.

What happens when that reason never comes to fruition? What happens when you grow up together, are inseparable, and then are torn apart during the darkest time of your friendship? You’re left feeling guilty and unfulfilled and a little bit angry.

I met one of my previous best friends in the first grade. We were best friends through all of elementary school, middle school, and most of high school. But high school is where things started to go wrong. He got involved in drugs, I got involved in band and sports. He isolated himself and I made friends. We drifted apart as people are wont to do despite both of us clinging to the tattered remains of our friendship. Neither of us wanted to let go, and yet the two options were to let go and drift out to sea, or go down with the ship.

We chose to be good captains of our ship and we sank hard and fast. We fought. We said things we didn’t mean. We lied about each other to other people in hopes of hurting each other. We not only went down with our ship but then did everything we could to destroy the remains or it, all the while occasionally beating each other with a loose floorboard.

I was young and stupid. This was when I was eighteen. I was hurt and sad and felt like the anchor of my life had been ripped away. I felt lost and like no one would ever fill that hole and that I would never make another friendship like this one. Look, I know that most of the people you meet in high school are situational friends, and you’ll never see them again after graduation. That’s one thing. But when you misclassify a friend, consider them a lifetime friend when in reality, they’re a season friend, it messes things up.

I haven’t spoken to him in four years. I don’t know what happened to him. Here’s where the regret comes in; here’s the part that I can’t quite let go of: I don’t know if he’s okay. I said bitter things and he said malicious things and I swore up and down that I didn’t care about him nor he about I. But four years later, I feel like I let him down. He was going through a tough time at home, he was falling into the black pit of drugs, and I don’t know what happened to him because I was so focused on myself (remember: I was eighteen) that I didn’t think about him.

And now, I’m twenty-two, and I still dream about him. I can’t let go. I don’t know if he went to college or stopped taking drugs or has a girlfriend or a dog or a job. I don’t know if he’s okay, and I feel like that’s partially my fault because I left him before I feel like my reason was fulfilled. I hope that one day he’ll walk into the Starbucks where I’m studying and I can see that he’s okay and I can take a deep breath and move on. I don’t know if he lives in this town anymore. Hell, I don’t even know if he’s still alive.

I’m sorry is this is a rambling mess, because I know it is. Humans are weird. Some (most) people I let go from my life without a second thought. Some people that meant virtually nothing to me are still in the corners of my conscience thanks to social media.

I just want to know that you’re okay, that you don’t blame me for abandoning you when you probably needed me the most, and that you’re happy. But I’ll probably never know.

Since I can’t say it to your face, I’ll yell it into the void. I’m sorry for the things I said when I was a stupid teenager. I’m sorry I abandoned you. I’m sorry that I was so self-centered that all I could see was my own hurt and didn’t for a minute consider why you were acting the way you were. I hope you’re happy, genuinely happy, and that you’re safe and well off and that life is treating you well.

I still consider you a lifetime friend even though I’ll probably never see you again.