Far away friends

What does it mean to have friends who aren’t close (geographically)?

It can certainly seem like the end of times when those closest to you embark on journeys going far away. At the beginning of the summer, I said goodbye to three of my closest friends from college. Each headed in their own direction going to pursue their dreams in the far reaches of the continent.

I said goodbye to them while ultimately optimistic about seeing them again — and soon. I’ve long since resolved feelings of sadness that arise from the departure of the people you care about — rather, I should say that I’ve come to delude myself about people leaving my life using optimism as a socially acceptable cover.

This isn’t to say that I’ve outgrown that toddler who screamed for his mother when he was left behind in the big classroom that fateful first day of Pre-K. Sure I’m still the same and I’m really scared of losing the people I care about. I wake up shivering at night moved to tears by nightmares of the perceived sudden loss of loved ones.

While I’ve certainly found myself learning new ways to deal with departure — optimistic delusions, attempted maintenance of contact, wishing the best, for them and myself — I’ve also found an interesting perspective in a friend whose origins are from much further away.

In our day and age, the technology available to us grants access to communication with those we might never have met. A while ago, I met a friend — a drummer — from the Midwest. He was sweet and we shared a cup of coffee in the first few moments of our relationship. In my ledger, that counts for a lot.

I’d made attempts to contact and bolster a relationship from afar. When the drummer later returned to his home, we exchanged friendly messages.

On one emotional night, unsure of my own feelings, I reached out to him. I have a tendency to spend just a little too long boiling eggs of my mistakes and failures. This tendency is worsened by another — a tendency to hide away from friends who are closest to me (in love and distance).

I always think, maybe the viewpoints of someone who isn’t involved in my life, who knows a world separate from mine, will have objective, clearly thought-out answers.

That night, thoughts like those ran through my mind, and I decided to send a message to the drummer in the Midwest and I asked him to speak to me over the phone.

Sensibly, his reply was along the lines of, I’m sorry, I don’t really like giving my phone number to people I don’t know. His answer was totally reasonable.

Why do I have this need to beckon for seemingly “objective” answers from people I deem “removed” from my context? I can tell you that this wouldn’t have been the first time I’d attempted this.

My disappointment in those moments was made complete. Of course he’s not gonna want to talk.

I can’t blame him. But I want people to know that if we are “far-away friends,” I’d (I like to think) be ready to pick up the phone.

Maybe, in this way, I want to be the kind of person whose love can transcend the boundaries of space.