We were best friends since we were 19. She was an introvert and I, the extrovert - we balanced each other out. I shared all my problems with her. She was a good listener but terrible at communication.
She never told me she was leaving for Hamburg for a year, until she reached the airport. I rushed there and begged her to stay. But she left for some water and never returned. I waited for 2 hours. She called me from the plane and said that she had to leave-she was terrible at goodbyes.
The next year went by with no word from her, until she turned up at work one day. I was surprised - she apologized and I forgave her. She could never let anyone in. Every time I asked, she'd say there were some issues and that I wouldn't understand. And I'd just accepted it.
I was 22, when she told me she was leaving for abroad again. She wasn't coming back. She said this time would be different and that she wanted to spend her last month in Dhaka with me. We did everything together and even picked out gifts for her friends. I even threw her a farewell party.
I didn't hear from her after that but I figured that was just how she was. After 8 months, I bumped into her sister - I felt odd at her cold attitude. When she realized I didn't know, she told me that my friend had committed suicide... She then gave me the password to her email, saying that there were letters for me. The letters said that she loved me, but held no explanation for her actions.
I felt lost. I didn't talk about it to anyone. When my family asked about her, I'd say she was doing okay. I put up a façade while guilt ate me up inside. I blamed myself for not trying harder to reach out to her. I stopped opening up and connecting to people. I never made friends, and stayed away from relationships.
Recently, I tried talking to a friend who was depressed. She told me, 'I know you're trying to do what's best for me, but I don't deserve this. Leave me alone. I'm a fuck up.' All those memories resurfaced. I cried for days and finally, opened up to my cousin brother. 'It's not your fault', these 4 words began healing me. After all these years, I was able to accept that my best friend was really gone.
This has pushed me to not take anyone for granted. I constantly keep in touch with all my friends and I make sure the people I care about, know it. I don't want to constantly think about the 'what ifs,' 'what if I had helped?' 'What if I was around more?' So now I try to be there for everyone-hoping I can make a change. I've learnt from my past, I now know - a little bit of help can go a long way.
The writer is working with The Asian Age.
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