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From Our Readers: When Friendship Fades

We were trading promises and sharing secrets because we didn't know what trust really meant.
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I remember when we were only eight-year-old kids, trading promises and sharing secrets because we didn’t know what trust really meant. I can still picture perfectly how we formed our bond during that tutoring session by sharing answers. It was weird how we became closer than ever since that very moment in a room made of plywood on the top floor of a simple sari-sari store right next to our school. We never cared about our class standings, both on average levels. It was the friendship that we thought would last forever but didn't.

By third grade, we started having fights that lasted for about three days before we would make up again and fight once more. Majority of the class began to despise your sensitivity and asked me why I still hung out with you despite our many differences and common disagreements. I recall us arguing over our favorite Tinkerbell characters and how you would boast about being called Mulan by your relatives. It drove us crazy. But as complicated as it seems, I could say that that was the best year among all of my elementary days.

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We didn't fight a lot in the fourth grade, in fact, we were the dynamic duo. The wannabe gossips began bullying you because they were jealous of you getting the position of being the leader of the majorettes for the Alumni Homecoming Parade. Sometimes, you would cry because of their abusive words and would even contact your tough mother who would bring everything to the ears of the school officials. But even though we were basically confirmed BFFs that year, we ended the school year with a terrible grudge that lead the class to be divided into two sides: yours and mine. I can't remember the exact reason why we had that cold war but what I do recollect is the two of us using our new and costly gadgets to make each other jealous.

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Fifth grade wasn't such a great year but sixth grade left something new. I learned the sins of hatred and envy which have empowered me to despise you. Why? Because something changed. I can't blame you because I know that you were striving to graduate with honors. It was me who changed. Years of discouragement from teachers and fear from failure made me miserable which lead me to push people away. I hated optimists and perfectionists and you surely turned into those. In the end, we both graduated without honors although we did make it to the Top 15.

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When our first year of high school finally arrived, we were still close friends but I would not exactly call us the best friends we used to be. You suddenly made your way to the honors list because you were excellent in Math. I, on the other hand, sucked at computing those mind-boggling equations but enjoyed English and music and expressing my thoughts through writing as I am right now. At first, I still hung out with you and our old circle of friends but I sort of felt out-of-place because you were all so smart in all your studies while I was only good in certain fields that our school doesn't even acknowledge or care about. Later that year, I earned new friends, a brand new barkada, who were just my level. I guess you misunderstood me because we stopped spending each and every minute together like we used to but now, it's the world against you.

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You know how harsh and frank I can be when it comes to writing down my feelings. But even though we rarely speak, I still thank you for those times when you helped and appreciated me and I’m sorry if I messed up on our friendship. But now we're no longer two peas in a pod, but two balloons that have been separated from the bundle and discovered the air. Goodbye, old friend.

Danica Wong blogs at mxntalminds.tumblr.com.

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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