‘somewhere online i have a friend’ is a poem that most people can relate to. Some relationships are friendships you’ll have for the rest of your life, but those aren’t the norm unless you’re extremely lucky. Most of the time, friendship looks more haphazard: people will float in and out of your life as you or they change, or as circumstances change. There are motions. There are squabbles. Schedules become hectic.
You’re probably not still close to your childhood best friend; in fact, as you enter your 30s, you start to lose touch with many of the friends you made in your younger years. In most cases, this does not imply that you have permanently removed those people from your life; rather, it simply means that your paths have diverged. Maybe you’ll find your way back someday. Maybe not. Maybe you’d end up like the persona in the poem below, who couldn’t find his way back until his friend ended her own life.
somewhere online i have a friend,
in this metaverse so vast, no end.
i see the green dot bottom right
her profile picture but won’t say hi.
she reads my post morn & night
but scrolls up after she reacts
days go by, & weeks rush on,
data subscription expires to be resub’d
as we view each other’s status
& type ‘congratulations’.
life is a swift & terrible marathon;
we both think tomorrow is ideal for chats;
before we know it, a year is gone
& send ‘merry xmas’ as forwarded chats.
our old chats scream ‘i really like you!’
i know she knows i like her just as well
as in the days when she was my muse.
we were happily idle & younger then.
& now we are busy securing the bag,
not time for chitchats, pun & poetry.
“tomorrow,” i say, “i will call ijeọ́má,
just to show that i miss our friendship.”
but tomorrow comes, tomorrow goes,
the distance between us, wider it grows.
neither ijeọ́má nor i breaks the silence,
although, in our hearts, we wish us well.
‘jaachị, égwuọnwụ tagged you…’
i swipe it close & return to work
“i’ll check it later,” i say & ignore the buzz
of comments, & shares, & reactions.
somewhere online i have a friend…
i tap on facebook & wait as it loads
‘i can’t believe it, ijeọ́má is dead’
sat atop my newsfeed: égwuọnwụ’s post.
a deluge of ‘i wish’, & regrets, & hurt
riot like a mad mob staged in my head
when i learnt she dived & she drowned,
as i scroll up & down our old chat thread.
& that’s what we get & deserve in the end:
somewhere online, a vanished friend.