Note: I originally wrote this piece last May, but thought it’d be great to post a year later.
It was late May, and one of my best friends, who had just returned from studying abroad in Costa Rica, picked me up from outside my house in his white Ford Taurus.
Immediately upon entering his car, he said, “Yo.”
We fell right back into place.
Like many other times, with many other friends, time didn’t damage the friendship. It’s the same with another friend of mine from back home. We always separate for several periods of time, but come back together like no time has passed.
This school year will mark the return of a huge amount of my friends. We went a semester without each other – they were all at different place across the country, while I remained in Amherst.
Some of them were romanced in Spain, others were hypnotized by the white sands of the Caribbean. I became the Editor in Chief of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
We all met new people and had new experiences.
The aforementioned friend who went to Costa Rica said he had a teacher who wasn’t much older than him.
One friend, who went to Spain, said she was meeting and “getting to know” many Spanish men on her journey.
During her stay in the Caribbean, another made a friend lives full-time in California. He visited her in Massachusetts about two weeks ago.
I rode through the semester with my cousin and my best friend at my side during the weekends, and with the Collegian folks during the school year.
New friendships grew for us. We had, in a way, moved on from each other.
It was in July – while I was out in Erie, Pa, for a newspaper internship – that I started hearing from some of these friends.
The Spanish dame? She was visiting Amherst and wanted to see me.
Another said she had moved into her apartment, and wanted to catch up.
Constantly I heard back from my friends that had been gone for the semester.
As for the friends I had made in the spring? I heard little to nothing from them.
This shows us what true friendship is. It’s sometimes a great and eye-popping thing to take a step back and examine your friendships, your life and the direction you’re going.
When you see friends that you’ve been apart from for months pick up the phone and call you, you know they’re really interested in seeing you. They aren’t calling to suit their own interests. They’re generally concerned in seeing you, and picking up where you left off.
Sometimes we make promises we can’t keep with friends. Sometimes we tell someone we’re going to stay friends, or maybe take that next step forward, but we always fail to deliver and end up nothing. Before the summer started, I had someone say we were going to be “friends forever” and another say she’d be mine “as long as I wanted” her too.
Both failed. I did my part as best I could, I know that. I did my part and left the ball in their respective courts. Neither took the opportunity to play the game. Both left me severely disappointed in them.
Other times, we make due on those promises. We don’t forget about those who have moved on. Sometimes we get an apartment for the school year with someone who had just graduated, keeping the friendship alive. Sometimes a friend will contact you from the desk of their new job in the Berkshires and say how much their experience deals with Facebook. Sometimes our friends are thousands of miles away in the west, and yet they send you Christmas gifts.
These are the friendships to cherish.
If someone, who is claiming to be a friend, doesn’t do their part in the friendship, then they aren’t a true friend worth having. Forget all the “guys should text first” or similar rules of today. None of that should matter concerning friendships. We’re all responsible for building these relationships, and thus we should all put in the equal effort to do so.
I’ve had friends go across the state, across the country and across the world. And many times, they come back like nothing has changed. We fall right back into place and the dynamic continues. That’s the mark of a true friend.
I always like to think of a wedding when considering friendships. Who’s there? Which of my boys is standing beside me as my best men? Who is watching from the seat below?
This summer I learned there are many who I thought would be there and who won’t.
Those that will be there, mean all the more to me.