empathy

How moving makes and breaks friendships

Painting by Josep Moncada

Painting by Josep Moncada

I have lived in six different cities, changed schools nine times
so you should not blame me if my idea of friendship is slightly warped.

You see, moving homes is also moving people,
changing faces and changing landscapes,
all the scents of familiarity become unfamiliar
and, once again, you start from scratch.

You start building, hoping
this time to stay.
You mould sincerely
every block in its exact place
and then you leave,
everything comes tumbling down at once.
You can’t pack these feelings in cartons
as you walk away yet another time,
you can’t pretend to be at peace
with the hundred goodbyes you’ve just said.

The people will still live in your head
and you may call each other on birthdays,
but what haunts you most
is the fact that you couldn’t build something that would’ve lasted,
friendships that could have been
if you had a little longer.

It has its plus sides: you meet more people,
more than you can count on your fingers
and you have more conversations.
It is the power of perspective, after all, I guess.
But you inhabit a constant flux: the hello’s and hi’s
become goodbyes
too soon
and you don’t know what to do with
the half million unsaid things
inside your head.

So today, when I make friends,
I am scared, hollow from within, afraid
of entering something
I will eventually have to leave, afraid
of abrupt exits,
afraid more
of hurting than being hurt.

Friendships scare me,
the idea that I will bond on different levels
with another soul
and then be forced
to forget entirely.


Swastika Jajoo is in her final year as an English Literature student, with an ardent love for words and food ingredients, and a self-proclaimed ability to create new flavors out of both. She lives on the poetry of Agha Shahid Ali and believes in afterlife.