Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Moving furniture and missing friends

It all started with a dresser. It just didn't feel right in that corner anymore, I thought. And, well, actually, that bed could flip around too. And what about those bookcases?

It wasn't about the bookcases. Or the bed. Or the dresser. It was about my exchange student sister leaving me.

This was the first time I'd dealt with someone I loved leaving me, possibly for good. And of course I knew I'd see her again. But we'd never have another year like the one we had. We'd never get to have unlimited time to spend with each other, without it being planned, with it being natural and part of everyday life.

The first time I rearranged my furniture was the week she left. For me, it wasn't about making the bed face the window. It was about changing something, a change I could see to match the change within myself, to hide the gaping hole I now felt. It was caring about something trivial to mask the pain of losing part of my heart. It was moving things around so I could move forward.

When my boyfriend at the time moved away, I redid the living room. When my new exchange students left the year after, I rearranged my boyfriend's living room. When I moved away to grad school, I had a whole new apartment to make my own, my new change, my new life.

I was never any good at making friends. Not good friends anyway. Not lasting friends. But somewhere along the way, I got lucky. And in the last couple of years, I've been blessed with more good friends than I can count.

You know the ones who will stick with you. You know the ones you will keep in touch with once you aren't in the same city anymore. And you know that if you are truly meant to stay friends, if they truly touched your life in some way, you will make sure you stay in touch and see each other again.

For one who travels as much as I do, making friends just to have them leave you or to have you leave them is part of life. At first it was hard. I couldn't fathom how I could love my sister so much yet not have her be a regular part of my life anymore. I was afraid that it was the end. But it wasn't. We still talk. I still talk to all my best friends on a regular basis. Now I'm not afraid to lose friends. I'm not afraid to move couches and buy new wall paintings. Because I know that moving away is not the end of the book, it's just the end of a chapter. A new one is just around the corner.

I knew my life in Amman would be transient. It's part of the reason I love it here so much - the constant flow of people. But the price of that change, that freshness is that you lose some of the friends you have on a seasonal basis.

It all started with a dresser. It's continuing now with moving around a chair and buying a new lamp for the living room. It's a week to change, to look forward, to move on but never forget.

To the friend who's leaving this week: you have been such an important part of my life here in Amman. I shall miss you. I hope we can be those friends that continue on regardless of location, but if time does separate us, I wish you luck and happiness in everything that you do.

To the new friends waiting to be made: my living room is arranged and ready for you. Ahlan o sahlan.

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