“Above all human existence requires stability, the permanence of things”
“Today, I want to read something out to you”, I said to HIM. “It’s a letter. Remember that conversation we had about what we want most in our lives back when we were 20? Do you remember what I said? You probably don’t. But I do. And that conversation has given me strength all these years. When I went back to my room that evening, I wrote a letter to myself. A letter to remind myself that I, indeed, do have that one thing I have always desired in my life. I do have my permanence.
So, do you want to hear it?” HE didn’t say anything. Taking his silence as an affirmative, I began reading.
“The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.”
Tithonus, the beautiful poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson is a literary masterpiece, no doubt, but it irks me for a reason. It speaks about how nothing is permanent. And how Tithonus, after gaining immortality, realized he was absolutely miserable, and asked his lover, Eos, the goddess of dawn to free him from this misery.
But this, the lack of permanence has always troubled me. Why does summer have to give way to winter? why do leaves have to wither? Why does milk have to turn sour?Why do relationships have to end?
This phobia, this irrational fear about every relationship ending has troubled me ever since I have gained an understanding of what relationships truly are. What gave birth to it,I honestly dont know.Nothing out of the ordinary, just occurrences that could occur in every Tom, Dick and Harry’s life. A bad breakup, friendships turning sour, my geography teacher passing away during my x standard board exams.
Who knew? I apparently had this dormant fear of losing those who were dear to me. Every bad occurrence just gave this fear more fodder. Slowly, I started withdrawing from people. I wasn’t antisocial by any means, I just found it difficult to completely trust, to give a piece of my heart to another soul, fearing constantly that one day, I would lose him too, and that it would leave me hollow, it would leave me irrevocably damaged.
Yes, I did have my parents, my family, but they were my blood. Why couldn’t I form deep bonds with someone? And when I did, why did they have to just snap, just wither, just end?
More than anything else I could possibly desire in life, I yearned for permanent bonds. I yearned for permanence.
It continued like that, with each failed relationship cementing my belief that permanence is a myth. Till, HE proved me wrong. He was no prince charming, no Shahrukh khan, no Albert Einstein. He was an ordinary human, just like me, with his own scars, his own baggage, his own flaws. He was my friend. I don’t know why, out of all 7 billion people in this world I could possibly meet, I met him. Call it fate, call it destiny. I grew close to him. We became friends. He peeled through all my stubborn emotional barriers,layer by layer. He taught me how to trust again, cherish relationships again, live again. He made me laugh, he made me get frustrated with his stupid pranks. He made me cry when he hurt me, he made my day a little brighter by smiling at me. He made me realize that permanence was well within my grasp. Through friendship, the most beautiful and purest form of love, I could learn how to trust again.
And I did. the world seemed brighter, birds chirping outside my window didn’t seem as annoying, people seemed more human, my smile reached my eyes. I was finally at peace.And I still am.
There may come a time when I won’t be as close to him, its natural. But I know, that despite every little thing that could go wrong, every little insecurity that tries to claw through my happy little bubble, I continue being content, because through him, his laughter and his friendship, I found my permanence. Nothing is permanent, but that does not mean you give up trusting, give up forming bonds and give up loving, because Love is all there is.
So, whenever I am feeling upset, I hope I do read this letter and remind myself that I do have my goal, I do have my permanence.
I smiled through a haze of tears as I finished reading the letter to HIM, my best friend of 50 years. Despite being as close to him now as I was when 21, 31 or 51, and reading this letter numerous times to myself, I had never really read it out to him. But today, today was special. Today was his birthday. I smiled again, before laying a single yellow rose on his grave. The symbol of friendship. I might have lost him a short while ago, but he still reminded me of my permanence and would continue to, till my very last breath. Still smiling, I slowly walked away.