Bridges Burned, Lessons Learned: Ode to Alex and Garrett

One of the most difficult aspects of life is looking objectively upon ourselves. We have some semblance of an idea as to who we are, but cannot begin to go into the detail that those closest to us can. That’s not our fault; it is just exponentially easier for others to point out the intricacies that we’ve gone blind to due to living within them.

Friends are meant to pick up on all that we are unaware of about ourselves due to eternal exposure. They’re the people we need to remind us of our strengths and help us improve on our weaknesses. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it until the day I die, I am lucky to have the friends that I do. I struggle imagining my life without them because of the enormous impact they’ve had and, I honestly could not ask for better people to share this journey of life with. And I mean that from the depths of my heart.

As we grow older, I’ve realized how lucky I was that these two people came into my life when they did. We were so young, second grade and fifth grade, but because of that we’ve ventured and battled through every stage of maturation together. We never had to experience any awkward situations or angst-filled rage alone. We began at the stage of innocence and watched it slowly wither away before our eyes as life grew increasingly more difficult.

When self-doubt was prominent and self-discovery was painstakingly sluggish, we lifted each other up while we tried to tear our own selves down. When hardships in life arose, it was okay to cry and to talk about our problems. When life would reach a valley for one of us, the other two would life up the soil from the earth so that we could all three be on the same level. We never fought, we never argued, we only supported and trusted.

We’re a trio with commonalities in personality traits, chemical makeup, mentality, music taste, and sense of adventure. Alex and Garrett both know more about me than I do myself, and it’s that way for all of us. It’s not just a cliché used in an attempt for those reading to understand how close we are, but it’s fact. And it becomes more apparent with age.

These are the people that know the decisions I make before I’ve made them. They know how to pick up on when my depression picks up even when I’m putting on my best happy act. They know what I’m thinking just based on a twitch or facial expression.

Almost two years ago now we all left for college, the idea that had been looming over our heads for years. It actually happened. We were all separated by thousands of miles. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I never imagined it was going to be this hard. And I know it’s only going to get harder with the real world being the next step for all of us. It’s inevitable.

When we make our triumphant returns back to our old stomping grounds in Little Rock, it’s like we never left. Everything around us changes, but our relationship between the three of us always stays the same. I look forward to what this life has in store for each of us, but I can’t help but be melancholic and nostalgic about our past. While some sliver of our innocence is still present, it’s not the same as it was when this trio was formed.

No longer do we make plans days in advance through our parents. Gone are the days where we’d play video games and watch movies all day and night. Sleepovers still happen, but they don’t have the same excitement because they can happen anytime. All of that excitement returns when we reunite, because the inaccessibility of being across the country from each other removes the familiarity for a day or two. Then it’s like we never left.

There are things I wish I could’ve done different. There are times where I wish I would’ve made more time with them. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve burned bridges while crossing them, but I know that they will always be there in the water below to catch me and keep me from drowning.

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