[14/11/2016-20/11/2016]                                                                                                         Entry No.2

Title of Post: It’s Okay to Cry

Indifference is and will never be a good option. Acting indifferently towards a friend in need is a surefire way to destroy your friendship; Ignoring a beggar on the streets is a terrible way to help the said beggar, chipping away at his or her self-confidence.

Indifference breeds ignorance, ignorance breeds hatred, and hatred will consume our hearts. That’s what I thought when I received a message from a long-lost friend. We hadn’t been talking in a long, long time due to various misunderstandings and our refusal to let go of our past. I could remember, very fondly, how we used to send each other voice messages, till way past our curfew. It seemed like a long time ago, and yet the lingering warmth I get from texting her felt like it was just yesterday.

All it took was a simple “Hi” to open the floodgates of memory and all the times we had and spent together flooded my mind. Nostalgia set in, and I struggled to contain it. The past always seemed better, I thought. You could never fully appreciate what you have until you lose them, sometimes for good.

Despite my instinctive urge to run away once again, I decided to text her back, this time for real. I really wanted to talk to her, and I didn’t think it was coincidence that she initiated this conversation: Something must be on her mind.

I asked her how she was doing, and her reply was generic. “Fine,” was her reply, but I knew better than to believe her. I dug deeper, and she started talking about how she felt a little lonely there in her new university. She had little friends, and those friends didn’t feel like genuine friends. “More like familiar acquaintances,” was her exact words.

The conversation went on for a while, and chinks began appearing in that facade of hers. She started talking about getting used to being lonely and how no one could understand her. I was concerned about her, but I couldn’t bring myself to show it. She had a boyfriend, and I didn’t want to seem like I was minding other people’s business.

Then, she sent me these words: “What should I do?”

My brain told me how I should react: I should just ignore her there and then, or I could tell her to go to her boyfriend for help, or I could just try and appease her without actually getting myself involved. But, my heart, my wavering heart suddenly wavered no more, for I know those words signaled a cry for help. It was a plea to me, asking me to help her, and despite the various excuses I had in mind, I decided to answer that subtle plea.

I dialed her number and called her, only to have her pick up after a lengthy wait on my end. Her voice was gentle and shushed, just like how I remembered it to be but there was a curious tinge of melancholy in her voice. “What happened?” I prodded, not sure if I would get a honest answer.

To my surprise, without stalling, she started telling me about her life in the university, and how she felt alien in that place. She couldn’t find a place to settle down, nor friends to call her own. She felt like she did not belong there, and for good reason. I inquired if she had made any effort to socialize with people, and as she explained how she tried talking to people, I heard a sob. I stopped her there and then, and like a mother to a weeping child, I said: “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be fine.”

The weary mask she had been wearing the whole time fell off and that one sob grew into wailing. In silence, I waited, and at intervals, said: “It’s okay. It’s okay to let it out.”

When the crying finally ceased, I felt the distance between shrink astronomically. I felt our friendship rekindled, our bonds restored. Maybe, it wasn’t how it used to be, but it is now there, that bond between the two of us. At last, we are friends again.

I used to believe that friends were people we meet who can help us in one way or another and I still do, but how I reacted to her text that fateful evening threatened to overturn that belief of mine. I had absolutely no reason to help her, lest I become labelled as a busybody, and worse, an opportunist. But, despite all that could go wrong, I decided to help her. Why? Because I was her friend? Was that it?

I have no answer to that question, but there is one thing that I know for sure: It was the right thing to do. No matter what happened after I hang up, I was right. I felt it, and now I know it. And before I hung up, there was something I had to do. I said to her one sentence, six words and each word was worth the weight of the entire world.

“You have a friend in me.”