Ashes To Dust

Coughing with a lozenge in your mouth is a bad idea. Tilting your backward to cough with a lozenge in your mouth is a worse idea. The slippery bugger keeps trying to make its way into the back of your throat and nestle in the depths of your esophagus. Not a good idea. Then again, coughing alone is a terrible idea itself.

In spite of the cough, the dizziness from wearing coloured contacts and it being another Tuesday at work, I am in high spirits. Perhaps it is due to the seventh lozenge I am consuming this delightful morning (in addition to the 7 tablespoonfuls of cough syrup I had after breakfast) that is making me a little lightheaded and ridiculously easily tickled by everything my colleague is saying, or perhaps it is due to the fact that I have come to terms with what seems like my biggest fear in my dramatic teenage life – losing people.

Just this morning while on my way to work, I was autopiloting, watching the trees morph into a huddled mess outside the car window and lamenting about how lucky my pet rabbit was while my conscious mind thought of the friends I used to have, and those I now have left. There are about a million and four ways how people can vanish from your lives. Some, you can pinpoint the exact moment you knew they were slipping away through the gaps between your fingers. Others just happen to vanish, like how you know you remembered your dream just seconds before, yet you have zero recollection of it the next.

I choose to believe that its no one’s fault. That when tea dates which used to last hours, filled with the sounds of clinking teacups, our boisterous laughter and incessant chatter are now empty staring sessions where we try to color the silent void with meaningless bits of information which we already know. “So…how’s the army?” “Same old same old, we had physical training yesterday and I almost died running. Improving though, I am now inching my way to Silver instead of a Fail.” “Yeah, I knew that you told me the last time we met remember?” “…Oh yeah.” “…”But I guess awkward tea sessions are way better than no awkward tea sessions because we’re both still trying right? As much as a cup of Earl Grey and a few butter cookies isn’t going to transform our relationship back into its old comfortable state, it means we both miss us. And perhaps that’s the best funeral for a friendship that is slowly fading away.

I am still using the bottle you gave me for my last birthday, the one you hand drew my crazy ass smiling face and my Chinese surname on it. I still open our group conversation every day and regret the times I muted the updates. I still have the friendship band we bought together on our night coffee dates of Caramel Ice Blend from Coffee Bean. I still keep all of you in my heart and as much as I would like to try to mend what seems like cracks in our relationships, sometimes things are better this way. People are more likely to be careful when they handle delicate things, they make sure they don’t make a wrong move, one wrong step. They make sure they don’t tilt their heads back to cough when they have a lozenge in their mouth, for fear friendship slips away like that slippery candy down their throats and into nothingness.

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