Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Art of Missing

Once upon a time, I was a freshman in college. I had all random roommates and I could not have asked for better people. I lived in a dorm with a kitchen. I was part of a ward better than I could ever possibly have imagined. I made friends with the boys in my ward, the boys who lived in the building diagonal to my own.

Were it not for sleeping, I would have spent more time in that boys' hall than my own. I knew many great boys, I still know them when it comes down to it. The thing is, those boys are now hundreds and thousands of miles away, fulfilling a righteous duty. I love them so much more because of it. And yet . . . no matter how much love I have for them, no matter how proud of them I am, I miss some of them terribly. More than I often like to admit.

I tell my roommates quite often how much I miss my best friend. I miss him every day. How much I miss him can't even be put into words more often than not. I try but I know that I will never be able to truly explain how terrible it feels. I guess the real question is: how do you go about missing someone? Do you think of them every day? Stare at photos of you two together? Do you tell others of your longing? Do you wish and wish and wish for one more hug? Do you imagine your finest moments together? Do you write to them? Do you keep it all inside, waiting to burst out at the most stressful of times?

It's kind of like in An Abundance of Katherines when Colin is explaining his hole, his missing piece. Whatever you want to call it. He has all these analogies and metaphors to make us understand the depth of missing someone. Of not having someone you once had. Colin was missing the (supposed) love of his life. And the thing is, in the end, he realized she could no longer fill the hole she left.

My best friend is not the love of my life. Far from it. If anything, he has left an even bigger hole because of that. I'm allowed to get severely and emotionally attached to him because I know we won't ever be anything. I can put all my heart and soul into our friendship because I know it won't end the way relationships often do.

The thing is . . . Will he be able to fill the hole he left? While it was his choice to leave, at the same time it wasn't. He didn't leave on my account; I feel as if that is a positive. He may not fill the hole in the same way, though I suppose I must cross that bridge when I come to it.

So to answer the question: how do you miss someone? In my book, it's a little bit of everything. Every day brings a seemingly new way to miss him. There are times I sincerely wish I didn't miss him, that I didn't have the longing I have. But then I realize that missing him so much represents the love I had for him, and more importantly, the love he showed me.

I miss him because of how much he cared, and still does care, about me. He may never know how much he helped me last year, or even this school year with his letters, but I will always know how much love he has shown. It doesn't matter to me that I am not his best friend. He only needs to be mine. I needed him. I know he did not need me in the same way but I am fairly certain that his need was to be needed.

To me that is the art of missing: To realize how lucky you are to have someone so great. And to know that one day you won't have to miss them anymore, for they will be right beside you.

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