This is part seven of our series called “Inspired By Sound,” where writers use a song as the muse for their story. This piece by Elly Rivera takes influence from “Better Off” by HAIM.
I don’t know where to begin. You’ve been occupying my thoughts these past few months, and there isn’t one word that could describe my feelings toward you. In fact, there are too many. I spent so much time thinking about how good things used to be; I spent so much time hoping for things to be as good as they were. What I wanted was to salvage our friendship, even though I didn’t have the faintest clue how to.There’s not enough time in the day to recall everything I’ve wanted to say. But I can say that there definitely wasn’t enough time in your day to fit me in.
I used to see your face every day. I was so used to hearing your voice, to hearing you laugh every time I’d crack a joke about something stupid. It was comforting to know that you’d always be there. We joked that our bond would either get stronger or weaker, and even though it was up in the air, I didn’t think it’d be the latter.
Did you know it was going to end? When you said we’d either be the best of friends or we’d never see each other again, did you already know? I didn’t. I wouldn’t have known even if it had slapped me upside the head.
You were lightyears ahead of me – growing, changing, thriving. I was no longer a part of your narrative, even though I wanted you to be a part of mine. You left me behind to rot, and there was nothing I could do but sit there and watch the show. In fact, you were always the star of the show. I was just another follower that would shower you with compliments; I was just another shoulder to lean on.
In this digital age, it’s not hard to keep tabs on someone. Although you cut me out of your life, I was still hovering in the background without you knowing. I’d look at my phone, hoping that you’d randomly send a text or any sign that we were still connected. I still knew where you were on Friday nights. While I’d be sitting on my bed, wasting my life away watching Netflix, you were surrounded by your new, cooler friends. It looked like you were having the time of your life and all I wanted was to be included.
You made me reckless. I thought you would do the same for me. You couldn’t read my mind, but I hoped you knew me well enough that you didn’t need to. I thought being a friend meant you would do anything for that person. Friends are supposed to stick with each other through thick and thin, not abandon each other.
I reached out to you. I tried to pull you back into my world, but I was stuck in the past. Everything about these past months was daunting and somber, and you reminded me of the familiar. When I saw you alone after all the months of lost communication, that sense of familiarity drew me toward you. I fought every urge to yell, to give you a piece of my mind, but instead I just sat down next to you as if nothing had happened. All because you reminded me of home.
Real friends trust each other. I was blunt and honest with you, and there was nothing I felt I had to hide. Even after all those months of not seeing you, I still couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I told you things that I hadn’t told other friends, and I’m embarrassed for doing so. I thought all the trust I had in you was shattered, but talking to you revived just enough of it for me to make a fool out of myself. I’m ashamed for thinking I could trust you.
In that moment, I remembered all the memories we had. All the photos, videos and inside jokes circled inside my head, but they weren’t making me smile like they usually had been – they were taunting me. I had already gone through the process of knowing you were gone, but my heart was having a difficult time listening to my mind.
The thing is, you were one of my closest friends. You were there to witness my greatest accomplishments and my painful tribulations. I stuck by you because I saw someone who had goals and aspirations. You made me want to dream and reach for the stars as far as I could. With a friend like you, I believed I could achieve anything. You were part of a group I hold near and dear to my heart. You weren’t someone whom I had one amazing conversation with and never saw again.
But I guess that’s how you saw me. Three years of amazing conversations and memories that weren’t worth your time. I stood up for you because that’s what I do for my friends. I ignored all the signs from my dear friends outside our group, from my own mother, and it’s with great remorse that I admit I deserve these four words: “I told you so.”
I’m sorry for not being good enough for you. I wasn’t the epitome of the perfect best friend, but I don’t know what I could’ve said or done that would’ve made you stay.
If there’s one I can thank you for, it’s that you taught me some people don’t give a shit about your feelings. It’s all about them and never about you. You can’t expect people to care about your feelings like you care about theirs. Thanks for giving me the heads up.
I now know how to let go of a lost cause, which is what ours was. I’ve done what I could do to amend this friendship. It took months to realize it, but we’re completely different people in two completely different worlds. I didn’t expect this to happen, but just know that you’ll always be in the back of my mind. There’s no way I can absolutely erase you from it, and a little part of me hopes you’ll still remember me.
Farewell, friend. This is the last you’ll hear of me, because I’m better off without you.