Four years ago, in my hometown, I was good friends with a guy, let’s call him Jim. We would do everything together, from playing basketball to biking in the hills. But, we would never agree with each other. A simple misunderstanding would often almost turn into an all-out brawl. However, in the end, we would always resolve the issue, usually by ignoring it and laughing about how our previous selves were such kids. Until the next petty dispute.
As one might expect from such a volatile relationship, an argument eventually went too far. We were debating whose shoes were cleaner when he splashed mud on mine. I was furious and demanded an apology. He, in turn, was furious that I demanded an apology and refused to give one. Tears filled my eyes and I ran back home, vowing with rage to never speak to him again.
Weeks passed with both of us simply refusing to acknowledge each other. My diet degraded to bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Noticing this gradual change, my father figured that I had an issue with a friend. Being the quintessential father figure, he gave me advice, informing me that conflict is natural between people. Sometimes, things do not get well but you have to try to resolve your differences. Filled with self-righteousness, I simply nodded and then proceeded to ignore the advice.
My mother, however, would take no such nonsense from me and began drilling into me the importance of forgiveness. I asked her why I should apologize and not my friend. She told me that you can’t leave issues unchecked. You always have to resolve them. And besides, they were just a pair of shoes.
So, the next day, with a heavy heart, I apologized to Jim. He accepted it with a smile and his own apology.
Several months and many more arguments later, I started to wonder whether my relationship with Jim was a healthy one. My parents assented to the positive, believing that conflicts only truly happen when people are honest with each other. My mother laughed, stating that she always saw opposite to what her husband did.
Reassured, I started to go on several escapades with Jim, each more adventurous than the last. Eventually, the list of possible victims narrowed down to a single person. A person that was also my friend. However, Jim still pleaded with me to continue with the plan. I refused several times. We went back home, him sullen and me miserable.
I asked my father what a person should do if they disagree with someone else. What is the right option?
He told me that it really isn’t about right or wrong but about what’s best. I politely thanked him, despite his answer simply bringing about more questions. What is the best option? How can I choose one friend over the other?
These questions continued to haunt me as my relationship with Jim went on a downward spiral. I started to spend more time with other people, as did he. Our normal, vivid reactions of meeting each other replaced with mere utterances of hello.
I guess it happened because we gradually stopped our arguments, and soon realized we really had nothing else. The conflict was what had bonded us, and it was slowly tearing us apart.
Life went on as usual: school, study, sleep. A healthy diet and occasional exercise. However, news of Jim leaving the town had reached me and I was really unsure of how to react. He was a friend. Was.
But this was also a chance, the last chance, to make things right, to apologize. Even if it was just for old time’s sake.
So, the next day, with a heavy heart, I said goodbye to an old friend and apologized for letting our friendship fall off. He simply turned his back to me, and left.
And so we went home, him sullen and me miserable.
Edited by Dhrubhagat Singh