To talk to my friend about his job hunt.
To tell another friend that the thing she reassured me would be okay has fallen apart, and that so many things have changed.
To reassure another friend that she’s learning, she’ll be fine, she needs to just enjoy herself.
To talk to another friend just to cheer him up. To cheer him on. To remind him he deserves better. He deserves the absolute best.
To see another friend face to face, so long since the disaster, and see if the tension has completely dissipated.
To ask another friend about his new apartment. To see his new apartment.
To bury a hatchet that doesn’t want to be buried.
To see another friend perform just one, maybe two more times, bringing the same over-the-top signs and standing awkwardly by, pretending the small crowd in a small room is the biggest concert in the world.
Two other friends – just one more night splitting buckets of ice cold beer in a dingy karaoke bar, getting noisier and rowdier until we spill into the streets giggling like children, feeling a little sheepish at our misbehavior despite the lack of witnesses.
To talk to another friend and punctuate it all with the biggest of bear hugs, so he knows he still means the world to me.
To tell another friend that everything he’s so excited about is going to abruptly change.
To tell him, face to face, why everything has disintegrated. That it no longer feels salvageable.
That I’ve seen it happening for months even if it’s eluded him.
That I wish we could still be friends, even if I’d already made it impossible.
But my main responsibilities have remained the same. I am a rational adult who is surprised to find myself extremely happy, and as a result, feel an irrational sense of guilt.
My days and nights are filling up. My holidays becoming precious real estate for an increasingly significant checklist. I’m realizing just how lucky I have been now to have my friends stay in one place for this stretch of time, considering 95% of them don’t haven’t set root here, and how transient this city is meant to be.
Finally one leaves, and then another, and another… and I am gripped by panic, dreaming randomly of my rapidly-collected friends, fearing a landslide.
It’s the people that make the place. The people who welcome you here, who pass through and leave an indelible mark, who join you in discovering it and make you look forward to future adventures. It’s the people who change your life. It’s the people who – despite all its breathtaking lights, stunning nature views, invigorating sea activities, never-ending parties and wide open possibilities – make a big city feel like a cozy, familiar home.
May we all find the time.