3 min read

how i learned to love my friends again

how i learned to love my friends again
Photo by Duy Pham / Unsplash

My friends were making a plan to order two giant cocktail towers for our table. One of them asked if I was down. I hesitated. I had ordered an apple cider at the last bar.

“Yeah, sure,” I said.

While we waited for our cocktails, conversation hummed at the other side of the table, but not around me. I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I was quiet. I started trying to follow the basketball game playing on the large screens around us. I didn’t know the teams or the players, but we were going to watch a game together later that weekend, so I tried to follow along in preparation. Still, all I could really gather was that players were running back and forth across the court.

The cocktail towers arrived and we started a competition to see which side of the table would finish their tower first. Both sides of the table cleared house, but my side eventually fell behind. I nursed my first drink through all this.

“Hey, Rishi’s still on his first drink,” someone said.

I finished my drink and a second to be a good sport.

Later that night, I laid in bed, thinking for a few minutes. I was in an Airbnb with those same friends. They were my college friends, and this was the first night of our trip to Boston - we were visiting Boston for three nights.

These friends were the only people I had really told “I love you” to, outside of exes and family. Yet we hadn’t seen each other in some time. And today I felt a distance.

Just then I caught myself. I noticed I was holding my breath, so I started breathing again. I took a few deep breaths and let go of the tightness in my chest.

And I made a mental note to let go of my anxieties:

  • Anxiety #1: I was anxious about my image. I wanted to be liked by my old friends.
  • Anxiety #2: I was anxious about our closeness. I wanted to be close to my old friends, close like we used to be.

I decided, fuck both of these anxieties. They don’t matter and they’re keeping me from the present.

“Also, fuck having thoughts in general,” I thought.

Soon I fell asleep.

The rest of the weekend was a delight. We quested at Boda Borg, which was like an escape room but better. I wouldn’t have minded spending the whole day there. We saw Harvard and some significant baseball stadium. The urinal at the bar connected to the stadium had a window, so you can see the faces of people peeing. My friends and I found that hilarious. We went to an incredibly upscale restaurant, one of the fanciest I’ve ever been to. The patrons were wearing suits, but we stood out in our casual clothes, not to mention drenched from walking there in the rain. What a sight we were. We also played a board game at night which involved some jokes too risqué for this blog. On Sunday we ate so much delicious food together, lobster rolls and clam chowder and Boston cream pie and cannoli. Later a friend was able to explain to me how to follow a basketball game. I ended up committing to being a Warriors fan, and rooting for the Warriors to win. So naturally in the end they lost by 50 points. Four of us speed walked to dinner, beating the Google Maps ETA by 11 minutes, which was so silly. At dinner we talked about countries we wanted to go to. We caught each other up on our lives, of course involving dating updates.

On Sunday night, we all sat at the dining table, enjoying each other's company as our trip neared its end. I looked around at everyone and felt a deep love for my friends. I couldn’t stop smiling.