I think everyone has a friend who we never thought would be our friend until of course, that person became a friend of ours. I know just the friend to introduce. Let us know him as you.

You and I met in high school. You were popular while I was . . . 

No, I was not bullied or alienated by my classmates. I just hung out with different people, who were interested in other subjects. Your group was more interested in partying or starting relationships. My group preferred to talk about current events or our school subjects.

When I think of how we met, I still laugh. We had been forced to work in a group project together along with another friend of mine. I thought I was unlucky to be with you. You were known as a slacker. You had the look of a slacker: tall, shrugged shoulders, and a smirk. You had the voice of a slacker, always seemingly nonchalant. Funnily, you proved to be a hard worker, except you had trouble with your work. I still had to take over your job.

We stayed up all night to finish that project. You offered to stay online. You said you felt bad for letting me do all the work. I told you that you deserved to stay online for your incompetency. You just laughed. 

I don’t remember what happened next. I have lost track of who talked with whom first, but I do know that we became friends online. You and I would talk every day. We talked about anything, from school to family. I always seemed to ask you some question and you would always answer.

Ironically, you and I never spoke at school. Now that I think of it, we never even greeted each other at school. They say high school rules don’t matter, but they still do. Our groups were too different. Your friends would never be my friends and mine would never become yours. But, somehow . . . we could be friends.

I do not think we ever told anyone of our friendship until near graduation. You should have seen the look on my friends’ faces. They all had the same questions. I talked with you? Aren’t you a slacker? Aren’t you part of that group? Aren’t you the sort to party? How did I even become friends with you? Why would I?

Yes, why would I? I jokingly asked you that question once. It was a joke, but I still wondered. I just thought how silly people were to judge you, but then . . . I had judged you too. I never told you or maybe I did tell you what my first impressions of you were like. You said it didn’t matter and that you didn’t care. 

In fact, you always had that phrase hanging from your mouth: I don’t care. Somehow, I know that you care. You only use it to shrug off, to change the subject. 

I sometimes wonder how our friendship worked. When I think harder, I believe I talk more than you. You tend to listen. I am free to say whatever I want because of that phrase of yours. You accept whatever I say. Maybe, because you do not care, but I do not mind either. Are you an outlet then? An outlet for my bottled emotions? 

Sometimes, you do consult me. I try my best to offer my input. You tell me about your issues with your girlfriend. Then, it is my turn to listen and to keep your secrets. I think that is our system. I know you will not blab and you know that I will not talk. 

Yes, we only met once outside of school.

I thought that we could celebrate the fact that we had finished our exams for high school. You were a slacker this time. I did all the planning for this meeting. You said that it was up to me. Everything. 

I believed it rained that day. I had an umbrella, yet you did not. No, we did not share an umbrella. You were too tall and are still too tall. A classmate had walked by us. She had that same look as my friends. Awkward.
I tried to keep the atmosphere light, and so you laughed at my silliness. I forgot what I did. I probably could not close my umbrella properly. I still have that problem now.

We walked to the mall and you treated me to lunch. I had made you feel guilty, and so you offered to treat me food. I felt bad, so I picked something cheap off of the menu. I even went without a drink.

You saw me eyeing your tea. You offered me a sip before you took the first gulp. I tried a tiny sip only to find it to be too bitter. You said you did not add sugar. I said I needed two packs. So, I went back to water.
We talked and talked. I forget what we said. Dresses? I believed there was word of graduation dresses. Maybe the future too? I forget now.

The rain continued to pour. You wanted a ride home and so did I. You phoned your best friend to come. He came and dropped me off at my house and then drove off with you. I tried to forget the awkwardness in the car. I had stayed silent throughout the ride. Oddly, there had been nothing to say between the three of us.
When we graduated, I chose to go to another university away from home. You decided to stay home except you had other plans. You wanted to return to your birth country to be a doctor. I do not remember what happened. I never knew what your plans were until you suddenly told me one day. “Did I ever tell you . . .”

You liked using that question too and my response would always be the same. “No, you never told me. You never tell me the important things!”

Then, you would go on with your news. This news did not shock me. I always thought you would leave. You were the one stunned to find me thinking that you would go away. I said it was my intuition. My intuition proved to be correct. 

You left for your country several months later. You had been accepted to a well-known university. Your dreams were on their way to become true while mine were still in shambles. I never told you that I envied your success. I did say congratulations. I was happy for you. I really was, yet sometimes, I would think if I had followed your route, would my life be easier? Would my dreams be closer? 

Believe it or not, we still talked practically every day despite the time zone difference. You’re one of the few that I will say has not changed much after university. You’re still the same old you. 

I believed we became closer. You even sent me a card. I did not know of your plan until you asked me if I had gotten anything. I had been confused until I checked my mail. There was a card from you. Your message was short and you apologized for being bad at writing letters. I just laughed, knowing that you were always horrible at doing these things.

I sent a card to you too. I wrote much, much more than you. I probably wrote whatever I was thinking down. Frankly, I don’t remember. I do remember saying that I hope in the future, we would stay the same. We would still be friends. 

Now, I never thought of this, but apparently people around us thought we were dating. I had no idea that our friendship was perceived that way until my friend’s friend had asked my friend of our relationship. I never knew talking to someone every day online was considered unusual. Your friends thought I was the one that liked you. Well, they thought wrong. I did not like you in that way, but you do mean a lot to me. You are like family to me.

One day, I saw your status online. You were wondering what it would be like if we were together. I never thought that was directed at me and maybe it wasn’t, but after I realized what your friends had thought, I thought it was possible that you were asking yourself and myself.

I forgot to mention that I had reflected on my online messaging habits. I was the sort that liked to message whenever I felt I needed to say something to someone. A frequent messenger. Then, I worried if I was sending the wrong messages to people. If talking every day was considered to be something that girls in love did, then how many boys thought I was in love with them? I asked you that question. You just laughed and then told me not to change. 

“Who cares about what others think?” you argued.

That was true. I never cared about what others thought of our friendship because I knew what you were like and you knew what I was like.  

You continued to say that I had never obstructed your life, so it was fine. You didn’t care or rather, you didn’t mind. It was fine to remain like this.

If I were to answer that question of yours, then I would say that the thought of being together did cross my mind once.  But . . . I knew that I would rather stay like this. I would rather keep our beautiful friendship and when we actually meet in person again, I would like to carry on one of our conversations over lunch or maybe dinner. It’s your pick this time. 

I would also like to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being you, and even if you were to change or we were to grow older and lose contact with one another, I would still like to thank you again for being my friend at one point in my life.
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