About lost friends and an old yellow raincoat

I was the sort of girl who had a lot of friends in high school. Come college and I realised I was the sort of girl who had a lot of friends who were boys, and a minuscule number of friends who were girls. That set up my rep as the girl who was everyone’s friend – boy or girl – but never the girl a boy can date, because after all isn’t it awkward to date your pal?!

Hmm.. so college days were tough for me but I had that one solid friend in a girl who was the quintessential goth gal but in an Indian setting. There was no makeup but she did try once to use kohl in her eyes. And gave up when someone complimented her for her pretty eyes. She was the one who solicited the hate of all boys in our class with her sarcasm and anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-it-better attitude. She was a riot. My first friend who was all about dark humour, even though most of it went right over my head. With her, I was the bimbette we’re not supposed to refer to in this politically-correct world nowadays.

She crushed on the baddest boy on campus, called our male classmates “wusses” to their faces, and had the enviable dream of learning to drive a Royal Enfield. She opened my eyes to all the badass things I could do. She liberated me from being Miss Goody-Two-Shoes to being me. She was the first one to call me by the nickname I still use today on social media.

Heard about bromance? I don’t know the equivalent for females but I totally “bromanced” her. She attracted me with her badass attitude but she struck me more with her big and soft heart. Her bark was worse than her bite, but her empathy could bring tears to your eyes too.

Even though I was the complete opposite of her, she stuck by me too, for reasons I could never fathom. Like I had this bright yellow raincoat I loved to wear. She used to hate it. Many a times she used to refuse to walk with me side by side on the road while I was wearing it. And I used to tease her how she still loved me enough to walk in the rain with me, yellow raincoat and all. Many a times I remember she used to roast me for my mannerisms and I could make her stop only with the mere mention of my yellow raincoat. That yellow raincoat was a central character in our friendship.

And then I left that college to attend another for many good and stupid reasons. And that was the end of an awesome friendship.

No, we still stayed in touch. In fact I transferred back to her college within the next 2 years itself, but it never was the same. She had more friends by then, and I had a steady boyfriend. She had certain expectations from me which I found out too late, and I was too naive to understand the intricacies of our friendship to withstand the test of time. I let her down too many times. Her sarcasm cut through my heart too often. And letting go was a mutual though silent decision.

It’s been almost 17 years and I still miss her. She’s on my Facebook right now talking about the loves of her life – her husband and 2 common friends (all classmates of ours), and I miss jumping in muddy puddles wearing that glaring yellow raincoat listening to her threats of disowning me if I kept on wearing that yellow abomination (a word I had difficulty pronouncing back then but became fluent after her regular reference to my raincoat as the abomination!)

In a way she did disown me.. but not because of a really old yellow raincoat that’s still crumpled up inside one of the cupboards in my closet!