Plenty of people came and went over the course of high school and college but only a few had the ability to touch my heart on a deeper level.
It was moments like this, when even a fast-paced life seemed slow, that I’d drag him on some random adventure in an attempt to hold onto my sanity. Smiling to myself, I made my way up to the attic where a plethora of boxes awaited sorting.
He was currently in London for a Productions conference…, sometimes, it was hard to believe that we were actually adults now. High school seemed like yesterday with all its drama and academic agony. Abandoning my cleaning for some reminiscing, I pulled out the yearbook from senior year.
“Saachi! It was great having you in my statistics class … you have such a positive personality and I’m going to miss seeing you around. Good luck in college, you’ll do great!”
“Wow, I can’t believe that it’s already been five years since we first met … it’s been an amazing journey with you! I hope you have a great summer and best of luck in college!”
And his: “Simple is good. Never forget the redwood tree. Love, your favorite little bro”
Carefully tucked near his signature was a photograph, from the trip we’d taken to Muir Woods on the last day of senior year. The redwood tree. How many years had it been since I’d been there?
I’d never forget that day. I had never been so upset in my life at the thought of being separated from him and Saakshi and my inability to publicly cry had made it worse. He had taken me to Muir Woods in an attempt to cheer me up. At first, I’d thought he had lost his mind – sorrow and physical exertion was a terrible combination. Three miles into the hike, he stopped me and said:
“Saach, what’s the real reason you’re so upset?”
Moment of truth. Fighting tears, I replied, “I don’t want to leave you and Saakshi. You two have been there for me through everything and you’re the only two people in the world that I’d drop everything for besides my actual siblings. I’m scared. I don’t want to leave. I can’t. And I don’t want to lose you both.”
“Saach, you will never lose me. How could I leave an amazing person like you behind? “Even after we grow up, we have to keep in touch. I’m going to miss you so much, big sis. Look at the stump of that redwood tree. Each ring represents a cycle of that tree’s life. In each cycle of our life, I will always be there for you. Maybe we’ll be neighbors, maybe we’ll be across the country but no matter what, I will always be your little bro.”
It has been ten years and there hasn’t been a day where I doubted that he’d keep his promise. We spend years searching for those few friends that are so special that they become a part of our family, a part of us. Seeing that picture, I realized what I’d forgotten: friendship is an adventure in itself – nothing makes you feel more alive than being with the people that you care about. I wasn’t about to forget that anytime soon.