All through my childhood, we moved from place to place. Every friendship I had, every relationship, was necessarily short. Oh, I had best friends wherever I went- there was Riya in Delhi, Kittu in Jammu, Vasudha in YOL, Parul in Jabalpur, Ruchika in Secunderabad... But now, all I remember about them are their names. I never really thought about it before- but by the time I was about 10, I knew better than to get too close to anyone other than my family. Too soon, we would have to leave and it would hurt. When the last day of school came, my best friend and I would hold hands and promise to write each other all the time. For the first few, I did write letters and they wrote back. But the letters would become fewer and further apart till they finally stopped.
Even now, I find it hard to get really close to people. Oh, I talk and joke and giggle and share secrets, but still sometimes feel essentially alone. I never fought with any of my friends. I always thought it was because I never really found anything worth fighting about. Now I wonder if it's because I didn't feel secure enough to believe that my friendships would survive the battle. I've never really fallen in love. To love someone is to give them rather frightening control over your life- something I'm simply not prepared to relinquish yet. I once came close, but he left and I find myself surprisingly dispassionate about it.
But now, after three and a half years of shared rooms, classes, clothes and secrets I have friends I truly care about. Friends in front of whom I can lose my temper and act selfish but know that I will be forgiven. Friends with whom I can really talk without worrying about being tactful or politically correct.
It's taken me three and a half years to get here. Now I have another four months with them. Then they leave- to jobs or far off universities. All these years, I was the one who left, but this time I'll be the one staying behind. They're already slipping away- they've entered this world of offer letters and university applications, renting flats and buying business suits- that I'm not a part of. I'm not ready for them to leave, I don't want them to go. I'm jealous of their new life that is taking them away from me. We will always be friends of course, we've been through too much together. But it will never be the same.