Tugging on Kula’s limp and scraggly turtle as she hands it back to me. One eyeball left, a gaping hole where she extracted all the stuffing from, but the turtles serif-stitched name Jamaica still reads strong on its shell.
This has become our new pastime. Turtle tug-of-war. I wonder if she hates me… the question hurls my heart into persistent restlessness…
The Year of Broken Things
Staring at the giant poster on my wall of Kula and me riding side-by-side, we’re both in a moment of pure bliss with huge grins. I gaze at that moment in time, and feel a sense of joy but also—something deeply sad as well. Looking back at photos can feel so bittersweet—happy yet tinged with something difficult lurking in its future.
I broke my hand, and then Kula woke up with a limp. Life has a way of not letting you forget that no matter how good it gets, you will always suffer from a certain amount of heartache. The fierce and unavoidable collision between our expectations and reality. Yet, this see-saw of happiness and despair is precisely what makes life meaningful.
The Tug on my Heart Strings
As I ride off for the trails, my heart breaks leaving my best friend behind. She must be mad at me, perhaps considering finding a new best friend. I wish I could tell her I’m sorry. I’m not doing this to hurt you, I didn’t turn by back on our friendship…this is the only way to heal…it’s not that I don’t love you.
Cruising the forest isn’t the same without my best friend. I sprint home feeling guilty from having ridden our favourite trail without her. Making my way into the driveway—envisioning she has run away in my absence—with a little rucksack stuffed full of bananas.
Turning the handle to open the door, I see a wiggle! Breathing a sigh of relief as I’m met with Kula’s drooping ears, happy tongue, squirming body, and wagging tail. How can she still love me after having to leave her behind? How could I be so lucky? A friend where nothing I could say or do would repel or upset them; there seemed no limit to her powers of empathy and understanding, the generosity of her heart.
I Shell Always Love You
Kula is such a good friend. She exemplifies what it means to be a best friend, and demonstrates how deep and meaningful friendships are formed through continued, mutual forgiveness and acceptance. Strengthened by shared adventures, heartaches and triumphs, they are witness to our silliest and most vulnerable selves. Friends don’t judge or hold grudges, they aren’t ashamed of you, and they endeavor to always look towards the better part of you.
Friends bring a certain energy; they make us feel at home within the shared atmosphere. True friendship is enduring—they show up with a smile—and an outstretched paw—in times good and bad, they are always there. Through life’s ups and downs, the push and pull of emotions, no matter how much time elapses…nothing changes.