I guess by the time we reach mid-twenties, we all know who our real friends are. Not just real friends, we get to know who in our lives really care about us. We’ve finished college, attended numerous weddings and have had our fair share of funerals. By the time we are 25, we know who to say hello and move on and who to stand next to, even without talking, for company. We learn that by now. We learn it through experiences
As I turned 24 last week, I had one of the most trying experiences of my adult life. On the eve of my birthday, 5th night, my only parent was admitted to the hospital. It all happened in a daze. Half an hour and we were at the hospital. I was standing in front of an ICU, waiting to hear what the doctor has to say. I was surprisingly calm through of this. In fact, I was surprisingly calm throughout all of the 7 nights that I spent there. I don’t know how I managed to do that. The only thing I do know is what annoyed the hell out of me while all my energies were focused on not breaking down. It was the people who I thought were my friends and family, the people who I thought would care to be around me at this point of time in my life.
We all go through awkward moments in life. Times when we hear of tragedies and don’t know what to do. Times when we want to reach out to certain people but we just don’t know what to say to them. I remember, just after college a friend’s mom passed away. I stared at the compose message tab of my cell phone for good half an hour before I had the courage to write a message to her. Having already lost a parent by that age, I knew how difficult it is. And I also knew how much a single message from the people you know can help. Yes, there are loads of fakes and uncaring people who pester you just so that they know what is happening and have something new to gossip about. But there are also people who don’t know how to express they care. I was one of those. All I could do was to send her a message saying I heard and I am sorry. I don’t know how she felt about it. But I know that what I did was the best and the only thing I could do at that point of time.
Sitting all these days in the hospital, staring at the walls and clocks around me, I could only think of the people who would have wanted to be there with me. All of them miles and days away. And then wonder how ironic it was that the ones who had access, who could be there, didn’t care enough to catch the next train or flight or even pick up their cell phones to send a genuine message. And it hurt so much more because these were the people who I have spent so much time and energy on. Heard their heartbreaks and woes, consoled them during breakdowns and stood next to them during their achievements. The only thing I could think of that, although I never expected the same level of involvement in my life from them, I didn’t expect them to go AWOL on me.
While I am an introvert and I hate my privacy being invaded, at this time around, I really appreciated those who genuinely cared irrespective of not being around. I can only curse my luck that they couldn’t be around. As things in my life get back to normal, I am determined to actually do away with those fake people and relationships in my life. I would’ve just packed up my life and started at a new place somewhere. But as I can’t do that, the only thing I can do is to filter who I spend my energy on. So if you don’t hear from me or get no reply to your attempts, you know what you have done wrong. There are no excuses. If you wanted to be there, you would’ve made an attempt to be there.