“Combat Baby”

How many friends do we make in this lifetime?

And, who among them stick through?

So far, in the two decades that I’ve spent living, I’ve wondered how essential it is for us to build human connections and commitments—in the form of friendships. Think about it. Can a person survive without having any real friend to hold unto? How important, really, is it to have a good friend?

When you’re stuck in a café, chatting with an old best friend from way back sixth grade, what is it that you two, or maybe even three, gain? Memories to look back to? Shared jolts of laughter? Pieces of advice—both astute and crazy—to consider? Do you gather to secretly whisper crisp ‘gossip’? Or maybe, do you crumple up in that café, simply to exchange updates about each other’s lives—from family, love, school, and career?

Tell me. Don’t you wonder? Why do you even have to update each other? What is this ‘necessity’ to confide—to share one’s life to another? Why do you feel like you have to call your friend, if something big comes up in your life? Why reach out for your best friend, when you’ve hit your all-time low? Why do we yearn for a confidante? What do we truly gain?

I suppose it’s that sense of acceptance. Of belonging, and of loving. Of being wanted, and of being needed. Of being part of someone else’s life. It’s this right, that we gain? That reassurance that we aren’t alone in this world, and that there are people—no matter how few they may be—who genuinely care for us, as we do for them. That, as we go by our daily errands and constantly plunge in a crowd of busy and unfamiliar faces, we know, that somewhere out there, there are faces we recognize, faces we yearn, and faces we trust—again, no matter how few they may be.

I’m not a person who typically uses the term “best friend” in order to address someone. However, I do have a number of very very close friends who would fit into that category. One of them (who has been more of like a sister, actually) once told me how difficult it is to find a “real” friend in this lifetime. She says that having a real friend is like owning a rare jewel. I agree with her, wholeheartedly.

As I continuously mature, and walk past through different circles, I’ve realized how lucky one can really be to have gained a solid confidante. It’s easy to get along with many people. It’s easy to have “many friends.” What’s hard though is to gain a couple of “real friends”, in this lifetime.

Of course, we may have different definitions and qualifications of what constitutes a “real friend.” As I’ve mentioned, I’m not the type of person who likes boxing people into specific terminologies. Nonetheless, I reckon though that generally, we at least share this consensus that a ‘real friend’ or a truly good confidante would be someone whom we would want to “cherish for a lifetime.” These are the people—no matter how few they may be—whom we pray that would stick through, even as we grow older. They are the ones who truly accept us for who we are, and support us to become better people. These are the ones whom we have chosen to share our lives with. People whom we shall cry for ones they are gone, and hopefully, those who would also shed tears for us too if ever we’re the first ones to leave.

See, yesterday, I had the chance to reconnect with some of my childhood friends. The three of us were classmates in sixth grade. We just had roughly a year to build that friendship. When one of them left and migrated abroad, the three of us rarely had the chance to talk. Ever since then, I only knew little of what happened to these friends of mine.

Yesterday, though, it all changed. SHE came back from abroad, and after around 8-9 years of not seeing one another, all three of us girls—now, grown-ups—cringed up in this cozy Milktea place, trying to catch up for all the lost years. We had lunch in a Japanese restaurant (because fondly, one of my friends still has kept her enthusiasm for Japanese culture). Then, we headed for this café in order to kill time. Unfortunately, since it was raining that afternoon, the road to this café we wanted to visit was submerged in water (sort of), and thus we ended up in a Milktea place, a few blocks ahead. We had shots of different milktea flavors, and laughed about almost anything (well, okay, maybe I was the only one who kept on laughing—from the car, all the way to the different stops we made, haha. What can I do? I was just really cheery that day! Haha) The topics we had were really varied. We even spent a comprehensive amount of time discussing politics, governance, and development—exchanging insights on topics from US politics, to the recently held elections, from the passage of the ‘marriage equality’ clause in Maryland to issues of government corruption, and such! (I know, so much for a first meeting, right? Haha)

After that, they’ve decided to go play Rockband 3. I stress on the word “they” because… Well… I’ve never played Rockband before. Never! Haha. Who would have guessed that after so many years, aside from meeting my friend again, I would be having my confirmation rites into Rockband? Lol.

As we entered the ‘Red Room’, the two of them started setting up the game. SHE went for the microphone, while the other went for the guitar. I, meanwhile, passed on the first round, so as to observe. It was a crazy experience. Crazy, but fun.

The music cued in. It was Combat Baby by Metric. I never heard of it, till yesterday. In that red room, I watched them just sing their hearts out. The music was entrancing, and the moment was uplifting.

They’re the reason why I’m writing down this entry. I wanted to cherish yesterday’s memory.

Because yesterday, for a brief moment, I did feel infinite.