Don’t miss out on friendships

Dont miss out on friendships

by Vania Quiroz

A few days ago I cleaned up my room because I was going to have visitors. This time I had decided to also clean the cabinets and boxes where I have some old stuff I thought was important from previous years. I found anything from two-month-old newspapers to letters my friends wrote to me 10 years ago.

Among all the things that I found, it was a small brown booklet that made me stop and think.

It had all the addresses of my friends from when I graduated from elementary school in Mexico. A bunch of memories came to my mind, so I sat down and began to wonder what happened with my old friends. Would they be studying? What if some of them were already married? What if they have children? Some of them were really good friends to me, and I really wanted to know what they had been doing since the last time we saw each other.

Then, logic opened my eyes to reality and I realized that most probably don’t even remember me, so there was no reason for me to wonder about their lives.

However, before I could throw that booklet away, I saw the name of one of my best friends those years, Alejandra, and I couldn’t avoid remembering her unique story.

She and I were participating in an academic contest and even though we just got to spend a couple of weeks together, there was a special connection between the two of us from the beginning that made us to stay close to each other whenever we could.

Fortunately, both of us were part of the winning group and we went to Mexico City to visit the president of the nation. In addition to that, the rest of the winners and us spent a week as tourists there. After it was over, we all exchanged addresses and phone numbers promising we would keep in touch throughout the years.

Obviously, it didn’t happen, and in less than a year, I lost contact with all of them. There were a few times when I tried to contact them, but the idea of them not recognizing me threw all these thoughts away.

It wasn’t until three years later that I heard about her again. One of my elementary professors had called me to let me know that Alejandra had been diagnosed with a kind of cancer, and that she had a few months to live.

That same night I went to visit her, and I remember that I couldn’t recognize her. She looked as if she had gained a lot of weight and as if she had grown older. Still, her smile was sincere as always and she talked to me as if we had seen each other just a few days ago. It was very late when I left, and we both promised we would visit or at least find out what the rest of our old friends were doing. She wanted so badly to get us altogether at least one more time.

We couldn’t keep that promise because Alejandra died a few weeks later.

I remember that when I went to visit her family, I thought about how easy it could have been for me to visit her or pick up the phone and call her to know how she was doing while she was still alive. So many things we could have done together and now there wasn’t even a remote chance.

Then I remember all the names I have in my agenda and in my e-mail’s contacts list that I haven’t talked in a long time. “They probably won’t remember you,” came to my mind, but it also came to my mind that I thought the same thing when I tried to do it some years ago, so I started to write a lot of e-mails hoping those people would answer me back someday.

So far I’ve received a bunch of responses, and it has been so exciting knowing that regardless of how much their lives have changed, they all remember the times we spent together.

I know all of you have some “forgotten friends” in your life, and that’s why I’m writing this. No matter how long ago it was that you talked to those friends for the last time, there’s always hope that they keep the same memories as you, and you could revive an old friendship.

Alejandra didn’t have e-mail, but if I had tried to contact her before her sickness, I would probably have more memories of us doing all those crazy things we used to. If only I would have taken more pictures of us playing. If only I would have kept in touch for at least a few more years.

If only.