He was a big bear to me. Tall, brown, with a face like a panda and a built yearning to be big. It was the only endearment I could think of now, sifter all these years, he chose to look for me online and rekindle our friendship. I didn’t look at him this way before when we were just high school students in the school I terribly loathe. He was just a big guy. And he became my friend.
When did it began? Perhaps it is when I discovered that he too was interested in writing. I was proud of my dreams, bragged about it in show and tell. And soon enough, I found out about the collaboration he had with his other friends. It was about two friends, a windmill, a struggle, a mystery. The draft was dull and until now unfinished. But anything that enticed our imagination is enough for entertainment. His passion excited me. I was not alone.
Not that my solitude was apparent yet back then.
We became friends. Sometimes I would go to his house and we would play Yu-Gi-OH, the card game that until now is thriving in circles in school. We would share drafts. Sometimes we would dream together about winning a writing competition. We never finished anything but it was fun. I even imagined for us an magical secret society. But it was trumped when the bullies mocked my creation.
I would also draw his characters for him. It didn’t matter if my drawing sucked; I liked it and I persevered. I even drew him as a warrior-samurai once. He still has it, seven years from now.
He was also one of those I visited in my Christmas card-giving spree, back when I believed in friendship and kindness. Like Santa, I would craft my own artsy cards and deliver them to my friends at Christmastime.I also dined with him in the humble feast that was his birthday, where I gave him a Jack Skeleton stuff toy as a gift. We ate chocolate cake, drank coke.
He also gave me a cute t-shirt with a panda in it. I lost that t-shirt.
And five years ago, I attended his graduation. Listened to an awful speaker, witnessed the cheers declaimed by the cult of the mythical bully.
These were the best memories I can pull up from back then, because most of it were wracked with fear and anxiety. As the memories untangled, I soon thought to myself, was I forcing myself on them? Forcing them to enjoy my dull company? Most of the conversations we had that I remembered centered around me. Or I thought it was. I even remember walking out on him when nothing came out of our conversations when I visited him one time.
It was also supposed to be a friendship of three. But I had to let go my connection with the other, right in the night when he needed me most, right in the night when he thought I was the only company he had left. I was wracked by my history, by my depression, by my anxiety, by my craving for comfort, that I had to let go the thorny deluded friendship I had with him.
I thought my friendship with this big bear was deluded too. The only thing we hold on to are our memories of enjoying writing. The other things he enjoyed I didn’t, the other things he enjoyed he spent it with his other friends. I even remembered reprimanding him for watching porn, when years later I would find myself being addicted to it as well.
I wasn’t a great friend. I was a horrible friend. I was a horrible companion.
I stopped celebrating anything since the years passed. Not my birthday, not christmas, not new year. My mental dilemmas caught up with me in my school far away from home, and I was compelled to continue my studies in the same school I loathed. I sworn off companionship since then, told myself that this school will only be a fleeting memory. I still hold on to that promise I made to myself.
But earlier this year, he added me on Facebook.
I could have rejected his request, but I wanted to know the reason why he looked for me. On the first months in my new school, we caught glimpses of each other on the corridors of the school. Thought that I was to him just a memory of the past, as he was ought to be for me. He had new friends now. Certainly he enjoyed their company.
But he missed me. And he was looking for me long before.
I even asked him about the times I was an asshole to him. But he had forgiven all those.
And as of now, we continue to have long conversations on Facebook.
When we met for a very long time, I gave him a copy of My First Novel and an updated drawing of him, now a better representation of his face. But stories of our lives and interests are the only ones that filled our conversation. It got tiring very fast.
I have long accepted my solitude. I have long realized that my company isn’t something to be enjoyed. But even those I can only see his smiles and grimaces on the company of other people, we still contact each other, update each other on our lives, and tell stories. As of now, he even posts photos in our messages. It was far from when I thought he was just there to listen to me. I have grown probably.
And while it is a connection that we cannot enjoy together, it is a connection that we will persevere to hold on to even when college ends and our jobs begin.
After my thesis, I told him, we will write novels together and I will not stop pestering you until I can read your finished work.
I swear to hold on to that for as long as I can.
For this prompt, a rough essay. for a change.