At some point in time, I discovered that walls are nice. Walls don’t care what you look like or why you’ve got a gap in your teeth. Walls, generally, just appreciate that you’re there with them, or at least, appreciating their gentle, silent nature.
Last Friday, I farewelled two co-workers from their respective workplaces (my current and previous) and as much as I care about and appreciate both of them, I am not built for social settings. See, the thing is, I don’t really have friends.
I should probably be more specific.
I don’t consider myself anyone’s friend. It sounds odd, yes, but hear me out.
Years ago, I tried to explain my train seat analogy to someone. It goes like this. I’m on a train. People board and people alight. Occasionally someone sits next to me. We strike up a chat. We get on really well. We laugh. We cry. We share a special moment. Then they say goodbye and alight the train. But sometimes someone just sits. We continue our own thoughts, our own lives, sharing the same space, same air. Others ask for the time. Others unload their daily stresses and feel better. Some stay for a while, others just for the one stop. Nobody stays for the whole ride except for me.
Do you see?
I met up with a friend over the weekend, a friend for whom I have nothing but love, respect and admiration. After seeing them, I wasn’t feeling too good. I realised why: we’ve been friends for around six years now. They say if you can hold the friendship for seven, it’ll probably last a lifetime. Looking at my track record… well… I’ve never had a friend for longer than that.
University is one of those weird things. When you stop turning up, people stop inviting you. They don’t ask why you stopped turning up, they just accept that you’re not going to be there. Reaching third year, I stopped being invited to things. Whilst everyone’s friendships with one another progressed, mine came to jerking halts. If and when I was invited to things, I always felt like the new girl, without the inside jokes, without the emotional bond and closeness. Only, I had nothing to say, nothing to be.
For a few years now, I’ve enjoyed the company of the resident wall at the party or the bar. Back to last Friday, I found myself loitering. I listened, to laughter, to stories, to the good times and the roastings. But I was conscious of my lack of substance and contribution. I know who I am. I’m not a fun person. I’m not mischievous. I’m not filled with sunshine and lollipops. I smile because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I laugh on cue. I share a story when asked. But I don’t create memories with people. I create only my memories.
I didn’t go to the gym today because I remembered something today. There’s a girl with whom I went to grade school who also works out there. I finally remembered who she was and what she had said to me.
“Nobody likes you. You can’t play with us today.”
The library walls were brick back in grade school, but to me, they were the greatest friends I ever had.