- Kurumi Onishi
To my dearest friend
To my dearest friend,
I’m so sorry. That is all I can say and sometimes, I feel like I should have stopped with those words when we last talked to each other.
It’s been over two years since you left the world without a sound. I still vividly remember the moment I heard the news. I was back in DC, walking by the school library to get to the dance studio since I had to film a cover that morning. I got a text from our mutual friend and never in my life had I ever felt such a sensation. I honestly don’t even know how to describe it. But it felt as though time had frozen and a dark cloud had made its way into my mind.
I still haven’t had the guts to visit your grave or your house. I remember talking to your mother when we had decided to part ways and how she told me that you are a sensitive child, way more sensitive than the average being, and things that may be the smallest thing for many can break your entirety. Your mother described to me that you were crying your eyes out, while I was too frustrated with the fact that you had tried to cut ties with me; I was preoccupied with the thought that I wasn’t able to convey how much you meant to me well enough. I thought I was trying to be honest but all I did was hurt you with my words, which didn’t even mean anything. I really didn’t have to say them, not because they were untrue but because they weren’t worth anything if I had known that I was going to lose you with the knives I had unintentionally stabbed you with.
When I lived in that room that felt like a gas chamber, I think I made it all about me. It was certainly a difficult time for me — being in a room filled with people that utterly hated me; yet, trying desperately to “fix” myself and everything that was broken while bombarded by the hurtful comments thrown at me by the manic state of an important person in my life. I craved positivity and human presence, which I was fortunate enough to be embraced with. Even after I heard the news about you, verbally, I was blaming myself but, in my heart, I was portraying myself as somewhat of a tragic heroine. You were the one who was hurt. You were the one who was lonely. It should’ve been about you. Still, I cried because I felt like I was the miserable one.
I know it’s too late but I think I finally understand. I’m sure I’ll never grasp the entire picture. Even so, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, especially when I feel alone and withdrawn from the world. I sometimes think that that’s what you might’ve felt.
When you told me you wanted for us to take a break and eventually cut ties entirely, I made all sorts of interpretations in my head. Never did I think how you might’ve felt. It wan’t about that boy or that night. It was the fact that I made it seem as though our friendship was insignificant, and I made it sound as though that was because you changed. You didn’t. You were there for me. You were desperately trying to reassemble the bonds that were undeniably becoming loose with the physical distance and the passage of time.
I blamed it on the lack of openness. I remember telling you after every phone call that I will always be there for you with open ears if you wanted someone to talk to. I had noticed how our spontaneous 3 am Skype calls in middle school and high school switched to scheduled calls in college based on the time difference. Remember how we would just talk for hours about everything and anything or just have crying sessions until we saw the sunrise?
Once we both started college, we both exchanged casual updates and I guess we subconsciously hid our omnipresent sadness because we didn’t want to worry each other too much. Only when we met up every once in a while did I learn about the pain and suffering that you had gone through several months prior. I thought I was your best friend and that you were always going to be mine too. Still, life happens, seasons change, and so did the shape of our friendship.
I was too focused on how much the shape had changed that I had forgotten that nature didn’t have to. I should’ve tried harder to make sure you felt safe and secure. My deepest regret is that I left you with a trampoline when I wanted to be your safety cushion.
The older I get, the more I realize how hard it is to “reach out” or “ask for help” when you desperately need it. You become more concerned about how other people have their own lives and that you don’t want to be a burden to anyone around you. Even as you speak, you start to find yourself feeling exhausted—for the words are automatically filtered and you feel tired in your bones from all the façade you’ve made for yourself after all the past betrayals and heartbreaks.
The truth is, though, no one can live on their own. Sure, we all have things we keep to ourselves, and we may choose to remain that way for our comfort and sanity. But when some things get heavy, we can feel better with just a simple company of a trusted friend. You don’t even have to have a full-on counseling session. It can be as simple as taking a walk in comfortable silence or getting bubble tea and talking about what the shapes of the clouds look like today.
It takes courage to trust again. To know what makes you feel better. To make an effort to become a better friend. I hate that I had to lose you in order to realize all these things, but you have given me so much, and I want to do the same to the people who are important to me at the moment.
I’ll add another word (maybe a couple more)—thank you and I love you, always.
With lots and lots of love,
From someone who thinks about you
About Kurumi Onishi
A quiet but passionate 22-year-old girl from Japan, who’s fresh out of college with a BA in International Affairs and a minor in Philosophy from the George Washington University. Like Woolf, she too has a hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond daily life.
Edited by Emiru Okada
Graphic by Ayumi White