Today is the three-year anniversary of me going to see Belle & Sebastian with an old friend. I introduced her to the band when we were in high school, and for years it was a thread tying us together. Nobody loved them like we did. We lost touch a bit after high school but when we were both able to go to their 2017 tour, we jumped at the chance. It was like no time had passed and we had one of the best nights I can ever remember. And today, after Instagram sent me a memory of the selfie I had posted of us at that show – sweaty from dancing and July heat and deliriously happy – we talked again about this band we loved. We shared favourite songs and agreed that that show was one we wouldn’t want to have experienced with anyone else.
So I’ve been thinking about her and the way our lives have been woven together by a band from the 90s. We’ve been far apart for a while. We haven’t really spoken in a few years.
I used to look back on friendships like this with so much sadness. What happened that we’re not as close as we used to be? Where did I go wrong? I thought of intimacy as black and white, 0 or 100 – we’re inseparable or we’re nothing. The thing is, though, that denies people the opportunity to evolve. I want to see my friends grow to be interesting, happy people separate from me and who we were 10 years ago. They are still part of the fabric of who I am, and I am the same to them.
This is my last post in a year-long writing challenge I accidentally started, never publicly addressed, and struggled to keep up with. It didn’t start with any intention, and even now I’m not sure what the intent is. It’s just a promise I made to myself: just write one thing per month.
I knew something big was going to happen this year – it was always just out of my view. As my life rearranged dramatically to make room for this big thing, I found myself needing people in different ways. Some relationships survived this growth period, others didn’t. I’m typing out this twelfth post in a completely different place than I was a year ago (emotionally, I’m fairly certain I also wrote the first one from my bed). All I knew last August was that this year was going to be full of uncertainty. Did it ever.
I had no idea how messy this year would be. I had no idea how much of that messy year I’d share. I had no idea what this big thing was ahead of me or how long I needed to work until I got there.
Talking to my old friend today, I was pulled right back in to our comfortable, well-worn friendship. Two separate people and one band sharing something special. And it’s finally clear.
She was always meant to be part of me. I was always meant to share this with her, so that after a messy year I can sit at my desk and smile over a band I love and fall right back into the certainty of an intimate friendship (the same thing I mourned last year x). The people who didn’t want to stick around – they’re still woven in too. They were always meant to be there. I frankly wouldn’t have gotten this far without the strength that they have contributed. All of this happens to get you closer and closer to the big thing that you’re supposed to experience.
Here’s my big thing: I got happy.
Here are some Belle & Seb lyrics for you, who have inadvertently come on this journey with me:
I still wrote this song for you
I dedicate this song to you
I know you’ve been there all along
I want to stick close to you
Sometimes I just need a pal
Thanks for being my safety valve