HomeInGenious - July 2023You've got a friend in me

You’ve got a friend in me

I was at my lowest. 

I would close my eyes every night and wish for death to come get me. There was no point in living anymore. I felt like a complete failure. I trusted myself and got betrayed. I wanted to deny it, deny such a thing ever happened but it was impossible. Of course it was impossible. Everywhere I looked, I could see people judging me, criticising me, blaming me but it wasn’t them. I saw myself in the millions of strangers I came across. I saw myself disappointed. I saw myself wanting to escape so badly. I wanted to just grab an invisible cloak, forget it all happened and turn a new leaf. The sun blinded me, so I started spending my days locked in my room with the curtains closed. I had no one to go to. My helpless screams bounced off the empty walls and back into my soul. I didn’t know what to do. My depression trapped me in a pit with no way out and anxiety turned out to be my only friend. I was stuck. I needed someone to pull me out of the trenches and make me forget. But I was alone. Only God could hear my prayers. Only he could hear my desperate voice begging for help, until that one night. It was raining cats and dogs outside. Lightning would strike every 5 seconds and it looked like a whirlwind was about to swallow the city whole. My phone’s blue UV ray light shone across the dark room and started to vibrate like hell broke loose.

It was a nationwide alert informing citizens to go to the nearest camp they could find and stay there for the night. A storm brewed and you could hear panic stricken cries amongst families residing in the building.

With only hope in our hearts and the clothes on our back, we ran to safety. The camp we stayed in was inside a hollow, empty church. You could see thousands seeking shelter there. Free food, hot drinks, bibles and blankets were served by volunteers. As trees rustled violently and the blood red moon shone with a venomous smile, we settled in for a long night. It was then that she appeared. Wearing a bright red poncho on top of a black t-shirt, she asked me if I had a spare blanket. The church had inevitably run out and most people had already gone to sleep. I didn’t have an extra one but her big grey eyes didn’t let me refuse. So, I gave her the one I had. I wasn’t too fond of the cold, and I knew it was going to be freezing, so I had two jackets on me just in case. She thanked me politely but instead of leaving, we started talking. I found out that she’s a psychology student aiming to do her PhD. She told her story and I told her mine. Two hours passed by and we still hadn’t stopped. It turned out that we had a lot in common. She had more scars on her neck than skin. We cried and laughed together until the deep hours of the night. We suffered from the same issues. She told me stories about patients, some witty, some amusing and some straight out tragic. I don’t know why but I felt a strange sense of comfort when talking to her. Maybe it was the fact that we were strangers, and would probably never meet again. Maybe it was the relief of dumping childhood trauma onto someone who wouldn’t judge, onto someone who related, onto someone who understood. The storm soon subsided but our friendship didn’t. Her stories made me feel safe that I wasn’t the only one out there struggling. We exchanged numbers and kept in touch for the rest of our lives, or should I say her life? On the 5th of August 2011, she died. It was cancer. I blamed myself of course. She didn’t reveal it to me and I didn’t notice. I didn’t notice her hair falling or dark circles growing around her, once gray eyes. Now, the faint gray turned into an ugly brown. After her funeral, her mother approached me with a handwritten letter. 

The letter was a hundred pages long, maybe more. It was addressed to the world. She wrote about a lot of things. Her words carried a certain kind of depth. It was like she was in the room, speaking. It was like she was alive. I still have that letter with me.

It has all the things she wanted to say. I keep reading over one paragraph in particular. The paragraph on friendship. It talked about a person in her life. Someone she met coincidentally during her time as a student. It was after meeting that someone, that she understood the true meaning of friendship. 

“We all have that someone. Someone we go to when we’re hurt, someone we rely on when we’re too scared to trust ourselves, someone we admire, someone we respect and most of all, someone we love. I had that someone. It was a special kind of relationship. We shared our deepest worries in hopes that they would heal them. That they would somehow make it better. They can’t make it better of course but telling it to them eases the burden. What is friendship? To me, friendship is a privilege. It is a privilege only some receive. Millions in the world have friends but only a few have the privilege of receiving a part of themselves. I was lucky enough to be one of the few. Most of us live alone, draining ourselves of happiness. Stop it. You only live once. Do what you want to do. Do what you would kill to do. I always thought that friendship came in the form of a person. For me, it did. But for many, it won’t. It comes as art, it comes as passion. Whatever it may be. Writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, dancing, singing. Whenever we are at our darkest, where do we turn to? We turn to art. 

Friendship is everything we have yearned for and everything we have ever gotten.


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