Hellos and Goodbyes: How we just can’t get enough of each other


Walking home tonight, I sampled some more of York’s showcase of human horror, (remind me to tell you about the lunger) this time in town, outside the famous Betty’s. An overweight, underdressed girl was surrounded by four men, all picking at her and her unforgiving dress, offering her a fag if she’d “just pop one out”. I dared to cop an eyefull of what was going on, as I am more likely to do these days in case I might have to recount the details with solid conviction that what I thought I saw was actually what I saw. In this instance, it appeared that it was.

A good new friend of mine is leaving soon. In fact, now. It’s crept up on me, and although I can’t say I’d have done much differently if I’d been watching the clock, (he is a very new friend, one that’s pre-assumption, pre-comfort, pre-regularity, pre-demands, so there was no chance we would be hanging out every night in order to ‘make the most of our time’) I am very sad to think that I have missed that boat. There are probably several people that I’ve met in my life, whom, without being romantic or naive, I would have really been grateful to have more time with. To at least know each other enough to talk about. To sing their praises, know who else would like them and why. Know their favourite things. That’s what friends do, isn’t it? Tot up a checklist of ‘things’ we know about each other? Those usually being things we can relate to other people, of course.

One of my closest, probably the closest, friend I had at university, put forward a rather sad theory to us one day that every relationship has an expiry date. Not just romantic relationships; friendships too, any kind of repeat interaction, a formative history of your shared moments (See ‘See Friendship’ on the drop-down menu on any of your friends’ Facebook profile pages.) He firmly believed – though I know he was always hoping to be proved wrong – that no one can retain their impressions forever, no one can put up with anyone else for that long. It will inevitably wither and… Well, expire. For the record, we are no longer in touch. Something and nothing happened, and we no longer make that effort. I used to see him pretty much every day. Out of choice; we had no lessons together.

I’d like to believe this was merely a cynical and incomplete take on the idea of the ‘honeymoon period’, and that things may change, grow, fade or strengthen, but ultimately ‘everything will run its course’ is an open statement, because the course of some things may last on past even the time when both of you are dead; and then, what is there to analyse, really? Does any of it matter or exist after that? Surely his thesis had no science to it, no consideration for anomales and timelines, uncontrollable variables. And being wrong. He didn’t account for that.

I may have brought this theory up before; it is something that has plagued me a bit since hearing it, probably moreso the conviction with which it was spoken than its possibility of truth or value. To me, that was the clincher. That someone might believe that, and make it his self-fulfilling prophesy. I hereby establish the opposite. That our business together is never done. We may take hiatus from each other, but there is always the freedom to come back. To expand, to explain, to answer questions. And no, enigma is not important now. I know you can’t follow everyone around and regularly upkeep friendships and relationships throughout all your changing circumstances and changing selves, but we can at least acknowledge that we found something worthwhile in each other at this point in time, and take no shame in the desire, the need to rekindle that flame. Ten years down the line, when I haven’t heard from you for as long and you turn up at my door with a flower and request my company once more, I will not turn you away. I have been waiting for you. Hello, old friend.

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