It is said that depression rates tend to soar high on holidays, or so I heard. Maybe because it’s a time to reflect on what’s gone and what’s yet to come, or not to come. Or, maybe because it’s the time of the year when the lonely become more aware of their loneliness. However, when I announced this time of the year to be my depression season, I had my own different reasons.

I can’t remember the exact moment when W and I became not only cousins, but also best friends, but I know it was very, very long time ago. We grew up together, she told me her secrets, her crushes, her dreams, basically everything she could tell to anybody. However we disagreed with each other on many things over the years, we never really fought. Once she told me that when we were kids she tried over and over to pick a fight with me, but it never worked.

I remember how we used to sleep over at Grandpa’s house, how we spent hours on end talking and laughing and dreaming. I remember our little adventures, how once we tried to hide from the other kids in the driving training center next to Grandpa’s house just to end up with a third degree reproof by our uncle. That was one of the days we cried together, just to laugh about it in the years to come.

I remember how we used to lock ourselves up in our Grandpa’s guest room to share some “secrets”, secrets that turned out to be common knowledge we shared openly with everyone as we jumped out of adolescence.

I remember one night last year, just around this time of the year, when she was the first person to whom I spilled my most intimate secret that I once thought I would take with me to the grave. I told her I want to speak with the lights off, without having to see her. It was a big step for me to talk out, and she fully understood it. She listened and listened for hours, and when I was done, she made sure I didn’t regret it.

I remember clearly one evening few years back when I was sitting with W in our grandpa’s house. There was nobody in the living room, and we sat beside the wide window overlooking Jordan street. We were visualizing the future, imagining what may become of us as we grow up and each of us takes a different path in life. We promised that we’ll stay friends as we are now, and that our children, should they ever materialize, will be friends too. We promised to visit each other all the time and never drift apart. We dreamed, we imagined and we made promises, but it didn’t occur to us that we hadn’t examined all possibilities.

Today, as I reflect on those memories, I can’t help but feel a lump in my throat as I prepare myself for her wedding that is only 2 days away, in sha’a Allah. As happy as I am that she’s tying the knot with the one she loves, I still can’t wrap my mind around the idea that she’s leaving, going away, immigrating. No more “see you on Thursday”. No more “Meet me at Gerard’s”. No more “Come to stay over tonight”. No more “I need to see you, we need to talk”.

It’s really ironic how happy occasions can be a source of distress sometimes. Something you can see in the tears of parents at weddings, and friends waving goodbye in airports. A tear that says: I love you, I’ll miss you, and I wish you all the best.

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