In four months, I will bury my best friend. I will watch you pack up all the memories we made, load them into the car you bought with your new grown-up money, and drive away with a piece of my heart forever. I will spend all spring getting our affairs in order, but I know nothing will prepare me for the blinding pain of waking up and realizing that from now on, I will see your beautiful face only in flashbacks.
We already promised this wouldn’t be the end. A thousand miles could never break the connection between our twin souls. But I still cannot imagine a life without weekend adventures and Saturday dinners and late night conversations. I cannot comprehend a world where I go to work every day and don’t see you studying peacefully in the corner, where I pass all my exams and can’t run to your dorm to scream and dance around your room, where I sit in the dining hall with only your empty chair for company. I cannot understand how someone who touched every corner of my life for the past seventeen months can vanish like a passing car.
The last time I will hug you, you will look like a stranger. You’ll be dressed in black robes that look too much like a funeral shroud and a ridiculous tasseled hat that should’ve stayed in the Middle Ages. You’ll be just one figure in a crowd of hundreds, and though I always swore I would recognize you in every universe, I fear I won’t be able to find you in this sea of strange reapers. The bands will play their celebratory marches and the convocation speakers will try to convince me that this is the beginning of something incredible. But I’ll stand on the green long after you’re gone, like a widow lingering at a grave after the rest of the mourners have gone home.
For a few agonizing months, every acre of this campus will be a monument to you – the table where we crammed until sunrise before our exams, the dorm where we used to watch cheesy 90s movies and gossip about our unrequited crushes, the spot in the commons where you once spilled your coffee and accidentally taught me a collection of swear words in your native language. But more than anything, I fear making new memories in these places without you, because missing you desperately is the only way I can hold onto you. If my grief for you occupies every moment of my life, it’ll be easy to imagine you’re still here.
My dear friend, I do not blame you for leaving me. You deserve every ounce of happiness you can find in the world beyond this chapter of our lives. Someday, I’ll look back on us with pure gratitude for the time we shared instead of longing for the time we won’t have. Someday, I’ll realize that we were always destined to drift apart in the end, that every moment of these seventeen months was a blessing on borrowed time. Someday, I’ll learn that just because something is temporary doesn’t mean it wasn’t real or beautiful. But for now, I want only to set aside my future grief and fill these final four months with every drop of joy my soul can bear.