Letting Go

They had been friends once. Close friends, the best of friends, BFFs. Time certainly does fly. It almost felt like yesterday that they were hanging out at her house for a Halloween party, sitting by the pool and joking about throwing each other into the water.

Yesterday. Oh, the power of yesterday sits heavily on the mind. That was what their friendship amounted to: Memories. The past. Nothing was left of it now. But neither of them could be blamed for it. Or was it both of them could be blamed for it? Did it really matter, now? All she knew was that this was the first time she had seen her friend in months, and she didn't know what to do.

She stood there, uncertain, watching as her past friend chatted with a redhead she had met in passing. She wasn't surprised that nothing about her had changed; the brunette wasn't affected much by anything, as if there was a disruption in the Space-Time continuum just around her. Her hair was still roughly the same length, her clothes were fairly reminiscent of her old wardrobe–she even had the same backpack!

I remember that backpack from sophomore year. It still has most of the pins on it. It was only missing a few of the music-themed ones, which had probably broken or gotten replaced with newer ones. She had it slung over her shoulder, since it was more of a giant purse than a real backpack, and it fit there snugly like it always did. And she still uses that single barrette to hold her hair in place. It always seemed to suit her, and it still did. It just seemed to click in her mind as "right."

The lost one lifted a lock of her hair, eyeing it sourly as she puzzled over her situation. I've changed a lot. The past few years had greatly altered her appearance and hobbies, going from men's shirts to a mix of tomboy and girly clothing, from video games and fan fiction to rifle team and writing original novels. With all of these abrupt changes also came psychological differences, emotional differences–a change in tastes, perhaps. Yet she didn't feel like she had accomplished much. All of that, and I'm only just now catching up to everyone else.

Maybe that was why she was so shaken now, looking at her old friend from down the hall. She was stunned by how familiar she looked, as if she had taken a step down Memory Lane and bumped into her along the way. She didn't know whether to walk up to her and start a conversation or to fade away and leave this part of her past behind. She was torn between what she wanted to do and what she didn't want to do, all the while unable to tell which was which.

I could walk up to her now. I could talk to her. And she very well could; she was skilled at making up conversations on the fly, and she could easily get her friend talking about whatever had been going on during the past few years. It would be easy. They could smile, talk and be friends again.

Or could they? Years can change a person beyond recognition. She had only seen the outside of her friend. Maybe that hadn't changed. But did the girl on the inside remain the same as well? What if she didn't want to associate herself with her anymore? What if she interrupted an important discussion with her new friend? Did she have the right to suddenly drop back into her life without any warning?

She bit her lip, unable to decide. It was so stupid to get so worked up over this, but . . . for some reason, she couldn't just step forward and draw attention to herself. She watched as the brunette smiled and nodded, agreeing with whatever the redhead was saying as they closed their lockers. As she examined her friend's body language, she realized that she was relaxed, at ease. Perfectly content with matters at the moment.

Her friend was happy. She didn't want to change that.

The bell rang. The school day was finally over. Both of the girls' heads snapped over to the bus loop, and they made their way there along with the rest of the throng of students. But the lost one continued to stand there, watching them as they came closer, fighting with herself over the decision that shouldn't have been difficult to make. The fact that it was tore her up inside, and she was so confused that the world started spinning.

Halloween night, where they danced to bad music and attacked each other with silly string. The birthday party with the bouncy house and go-karts. The days of chorus and wishing they didn't have to deal with the girls who always tried talking with British accents. All of it flashed through her mind like fish in murky water; there, then gone with a faint glimmer.

The brunette walked past her, eyes focused on the girl beside her as they continued their conversation on their way to the buses.

The lost one closed her eyes, finally finding herself even as she felt like she had lost something irreplaceable, softly gleaming in the dark depths of the past.

She let her go.