05. ‘Sister’.

At what point did she change? Truth is, I have no idea. One day, she just seemed different. She looked the same, spoke the same, but something about her had changed. Of course one could easily argue that I had changed, that it was the way I saw her that made me believe that she was not the same person I had encountered and shared most of my life with. And I wouldn’t dispute this belief, because after all, don’t we all change? Maybe, as we interact with others, we slowly change each other, by picking something unconsciously from this one or that one, until one day we are not the person we used to be. Despite the different opinions and theories, the truth was there: we no longer shared the common ideals, the common dreams and view of the world. There was no laughter left, no jokes to be told, no dreams to be exchanged. Only remembrance of the past, of how good things used to be remained behind like ghosts that never wanted to leave.

It is quite tragic, to be honest.

And to think that we once called each other ‘sister’…

I remember when we first met, we didn’t like each other at first. It took our friends to bring us together; before not long, we were always around each other. We were young, we had fun and most of all, we knew we were lucky to have one another. Together with our faithful group of friends we outed, dined, had long conversations, shared our aspirations. I liked her for being stubborn and strong-minded. You couldn’t tell her no, she always has the last word. There was a time when she sat her eyes on the boy I liked, despite being already in a relationship. I knew then that she would have him even though the boy vowed he loved me. Soon enough, they were an item, and I could not get mad at her, after all, she always got whatever her heart desired. To my surprise, their couple lasted for three years. You know at that young age, three years seem an eternity. I imagined them getting married one day, and how I would be the Maid of Honor. She knew how many kids she wanted: three to be exact – two boys and a girl. She was very into american stars at the moment and the names of her future kids had that american connotation. She knew she was going to move to the United States as soon as she would be done with high school. I admired that in her; her certainty about things, about people and even the future, which was still a bit foggy to me. We only had a year left together, a year which I will probably always remember. When I think of our senior year, I slowly realize that things began to change right then. But we were too caught up in our lives to see it coming. We had hopes. We had dreams. We had faith.

Love is blind, I’ve heard people say. I didn’t know love, for me it was a foreign concept. After all, I was young and busy planning my future. There was no room for love. At least not the romantic kind. She did not agree. She wanted it all now or never. And so she made her move, while I busied myself with my future. She gave herself to the boy, and soon everything she knew started to fall apart and the world began to change. For once, I was the one to be certain while she arbored something new within herself. Was it doubt? Regret? Envy? Sadness? I couldn’t tell. All I could see was that something within her was starting to change. The lost love had taken a toll on her, and she had hard time finding her way back to the person she was before. Truth be told, I didn’t want to think of what crossed her mind at that moment. I wanted to preserve her image in my head as the strong girl who was my friend. The one who always dared and laughed when I was uncertain. Although I tried to reassure her that everything would be okay, that she would know a wonderful life just as she had pictured it for herself, somewhere I knew that she did not believe me. She did not believe herself. There is nothing worse than to lose hope at such young age. If I didn’t know it then, I sure do know it now.

At what point did she change? It might have been right then. The moment we parted away. The moment I gave her that last hug before boarding my plane. The moment she saw her life take an unexpected turn and saw all those who were close to her move away, start new lives. Lives that did not take her into account. Feeling left behind, excluded from what used to be her life, might have slowly broke her. It didn’t matter that I tried to call, that I tried to keep up with her as I was trying to go through my life. It didn’t matter that I came back to visit. I had left. And for her, I would never come back and things would certainly never get back to the way they used to be.

You know the sad part? I knew the same truth she did. I knew we would never be the people we were. That we would never laugh at the same jokes, look at life from the same side and dream the same dreams. I knew our roads had taken different turns. I knew that somewhere deep inside she resented me, and that we would never again be the same kind of friends.

And to think that we once called each other ‘sister’…