Take Kenny for an example. I met Kenny during kindergarten. We were best friends until he moved with his family to the Netherlands, but we kept in touch for a very long time. Kenny and I had similar sense of humor, and we liked the same comic books. We would go to take long lunch breaks and read our comic books. I don't quite remember what we liked to do together back then -- it was such a long, long time ago. After Kenny moved to Europe, he sent me postcards, aerograms and pictures once in a while, and I used to be envious of him. The Netherlands looked so serene, beautiful and modern. He got to bike to school while I had to take buses. He lived in a spacious house with a backyard while I lived in a 300 sq. ft. apartment. He had International friends. But we kept in touch. We talked about our respective schools, our lives, and what we wanted to do in the future.
After high school I came to the US for college, and soon I got to live the life I used to envy: biking to school, living in a spacious apartment, meeting International friends. Suddenly I felt like Kenny and I weren't all that different after all. But the reality was, we were different. And the irony was our lives reversed. Kenny didn't go to college. He couldn't get a job in Europe, so he returned to Hong Kong and worked at a store. The fact was, he was miserable in the Netherlands; after all those years he could not adjust. He probably was a victim of prejudice as well. He hated his life in the Netherlands and returning home made him happy. I, on the other hand, was having the time of my life in the US.
As adults, we started to drift apart and our world views began to divert. During my second year of college, I returned home for a visit and met up with Kenny for the first time since we were children. Things had changed. I was very happy to see him, but soon we ran out of things to talk about and it suddenly dawned on me: we were not children anymore. What had always been holding our friendship together was the idea and the memories of our childhood together and our common bond at school. The reality was that our childhood was over and our school days were distant memories. The reality was that we didn't have anything in common anymore. When I left the restaurant, I felt an immense sadness but also a strange relief. It was as if I had to say goodbye to a childhood friend so I could move on to adulthood.
Today, I wonder what Kenny is doing now. Is he still in Hong Kong? Is he married? Does he have children? Yet, my memories of our childhood together are sketchy at best. I still have some of his letters and pictures, probably somewhere in the attic. But we're no longer friends.
Reminds me of something I wrote the other day in my WIP:
He shrugged at the thought and realized their paths might have intersected for a brief moment, but their lives would continue on different directions, if they were lucky enough to stay alive after all.
So long, Kenny. Good luck and godspeed.
300 words today, 7300 words total
349 days and 178200 words to go