"Never change," she'd said. Driving down the dark, lamp-less road that leads to my house I thought of her and those words. I could hear her voice speaking them; I could see her lips forming the words and her eyes looking up into my face, which most likely hid very poorly my inability to come up with a proper response. I'm not sure why I thought of her and those words she said, but it wasn't because I love her, even though I might have thought I did, once. In fact, occasionally I'll experience a moment in which I'm not entirely sure I even like her, or what she seemed to be becoming the last few times I saw her (which was some time ago). So I'm willing to rule out romantic affection as a possible reason.
More apparent than the reason behind it seems to be the purpose it serves; reflectively speaking, at any rate. What I mean by that is it made me wonder about a lot of things. It made me wonder whether or not I'd kept my promise to never do what she'd said, and if I hadn't (because to think I could have now seems absurd), whether or not at least the things about me she'd valued most were still the same. It made me wonder what she would think of the person sitting behind the wheel of this car, looking out of these eyes, having these thoughts, and with hair cut the way mine is, and whether or not she'd care to say to this person now what she'd said to that person then. By extension, what would all the other people I left behind back then have to say? Maybe for a very select few it would be an enthusiastic "HEY, BUDDY" and a massive hug; more may have a few kind words and well-wishes, albeit with a tinge of awkwardness and feeling forced out; but in more cases than any, I imagine they'd have nothing to say at all, if even a second glance to offer, to me, this someone who virtually disappeared from their lives four years ago and who gets lost in his nostalgia mid-drive.
More than anything, though, I wonder what I myself would do if I saw her tomorrow. Part of me would probably want to shake her, to cry, to scream and tell her how long her words (which she may have even forgotten about by now) have stayed with me, and ask why she never returned my messages or letters. Another part of me would want to ignore her, to snub her, or to at least treat her coldly for how few the conversations have been, and long and brutal the silences in between. But, again, more than anything, I believe I'd want to smile, to have the chance to say her name aloud again, and to laugh and plan for the night ahead. In that moment, I would look back and be amazed that I could have obsessed so powerfully over a moment that turned out to unfold so naturally; as true friendships do, and continue to do, over and over again. But until that day comes, I'm left to wonder why I thought of her and the words "Never change" on a dark drive home alone.