You came into my life like a rolling storm. Quiet and subtle, testing me with little rains and tiny thunders to see if I would flinch. And then all at once, a constant and surefire presence too important to be ignored. And you left just the same, all at once with no hesitation.
What do I say after a year? What do I begin to describe? The pain of absence? Or the precious few memories?
I don’t have many pictures of us. I can probably count on my hands the number of what I do. I was always the one behind the camera. That is Regret Number One.
I didn’t message you enough. The last correspondence I had with you was asking where I could send you mail. Telling you not to end up back in the hospital. But you did. And I never told you happy birthday because of it. You wrote me on Facebook, telling me you loved me weeks before, and I didn’t say it back. That is Regret Number Two.
I didn’t tell you I was coming. I didn’t let you know I was damned determined to say goodbye. I doubt it would have changed things. But I wonder every day if you would have held on for that. If maybe at least the promise of seeing each other would have been worth knowing in your final moments. That is Regret Number Three.
The truth is, though. I don’t think I’m that valuable. Hell, I know I’m not. I fucked up. Big time. Because I called you my best friend and never did a goddamn thing to prove it.
When you came into my life, it was like you knew me from the start. Because you approached me exactly how I needed you. You did everything you feasibly could to reach me… because when I met you, I was lonely. A freshman in an art class isolated from her friends. Friends who, as I got closer to you, grew jealous of how I found new friends of my own. And you watched as the loneliness swept over me in an instant, and you swept in faster to shield me from it.
The falling out with one friend was commonplace for me. It’s why you could see the loneliness from a mile away. Time and again, I had friends and lost them for the simple fact that “You can’t have more than one best friend.” In a circle of friends, if you liked one person another didn’t like, you had to choose which one you stuck by. And I never wanted to do that. So when I was forced to make a choice, I turned away from the person who put me up to it. And when I met you, it happened all over again. But you became different.
You included me in everything you could. You introduced me to your circle and brought me along whenever it was possible. You taught me that it’s possible to have more than one best friend. Because you had so many.
But, Kyrstin, I can’t call myself your best friend. I don’t- and I never have- deserved or earned that right. I should have been better to you. I should have tried harder. I should have done so much to repay how you saved me. I am not- I never was- a best friend.
But you were mine.