I looked at the 22 year old man in front of me, with his best girl friend across him. I watched as he sucked in the air from a pipe that extended from a huge curved container next to the table. He exhaled the smoke into the air above in little O shapes. I was wrong. The right word wouldn’t be “man” for him but rather he was a “boy.” Immature and the words from my sister echoed in my mind, “he lacked substance.” He was a good person who had treated me with nothing but kindness since I met him. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel the need to force smiles and sounds of laughter throughout the whole encounter. It reminded me of my countless attempts of friendships. I was trying. But I felt empty as I sat there. My curiosity for what a hookah bar looked like disappeared after my sister prevented me from going to one. There was no longer enough curiosity left to push me to try the smoke that filled the whole lounge. So, I was glad I didn’t cave into the pressure of trying hookah.
But I could feel the emotions of despair fill me after the bowling and the lounge outing with him and his friend. Friends. Something so simple and the most effortless of most relationships often gave me the most distress. I got along with everyone. I was the kind, sweet girl that everyone liked. So, I wasn’t friendless. However, a genuine friendship was what I wanted. A companion that I didn’t feel the need to force myself to spend time with.
I was 18 and I didn’t have even one person that would cross my mind to reach out to whenever I wanted to do something. Not that I don’t like the people that are my age, that are around me. But everyday we are always putting one foot out for the outside world because we have to…to survive…at work, home with our family, and etc. Friends were the relationships where you don’t owe the other person anything to make them happy. It was the choice of several people who like spending time together, hanging out partially for themselves. To unwind. To have fun. I’ve never experienced that. Yes, I’ve had fun. But not necessarily with the people I’ve ever wanted.
My sister mentioned that maybe it’s because we’re both picky. But I looked upon her with envy as I saw her surrounded with friendships lasting over a decade and a best friend she had just finished traveling the world with. Maybe, she said, you’re not meant for it. You often have to miss out on one aspect of life to win in another.
However, I looked down upon such a calculative view of life. I’m only freaking 18. I shouldn’t be weighing what I’m willing to “sacrifice” to gain in another department. The ironic part is though all that weighing and balancing is done only with yourself as a witness, with no guarantee that someone’s going to pay you back for that sacrifice.
Although, I did agree with one thing. Time was precious. And if I don’t like him, even though he did nothing wrong. In fact, his friend and him were nothing but great people. I was not happy when I was with them. I was doing the very thing I’ve been repeatedly been told and have been learning not to. I was settling. I was settling with a friendship that meant almost nothing to me. That held no value. I had enough respect for myself to know that I need to respect my thoughts and emotions. He did nothing wrong. Neither did I.
But I love myself. Know myself. And care enough to know that I want more.