Farewell to a Friend
By: Tara Ruttenberg

How do I walk past you as if I never knew you, the coldness in me to match the frigid air in you, after all that we've been through?

There's so much I want to tell you, for which I've struggled to find the right moment; the time in space strong enough to hold it, if ever such a moment might exist. So, I decided to write you. Before any more time goes by. Because if I don't say it now, I won't ever say it. 

I miss you, my friend. I miss the days we'd make dinner together and watch a movie about spiritual histories, and we'd argue over ideas and bask in the easy beauty of our friendship, swirling in the multidimensional connection we've cultivated across lifetimes. I miss the solidarity of mutual support on our separate, yet interdependent journeys. I miss experiencing moments of life together, making love in the jungle starlight outside your window, when I'd feel most protected, loved, seen, appreciated. I miss the trust, the respect, the kindness built in years of knowing one another, the energy that surrounded us always, uncommon here in this reality we call life. 

"You're the woman closest to me," you said one day, much to my surprise. Making me feel safe in acknowledging, in honoring, that you're the man closest to me, too. It felt like we both knew we had work to do: important, together.

"I think I could come to love only you," you said, words I'd never expect to hear from lips shared with women near and far. Words so straight and simple, I took them to heart.

But that was then.

Things aren't like that between us now. The love in me unreciprocrated in you. Arguing over nothing, everything. Reacting in unkind words, flinging judgment regularly reserved for religion. Communication at an impasse. The foundation of our friendship, cracked to pieces. Disagreement breeding hostility where it once nurtured wisdom.

In my failed attempts to recuperate connection, I fear we have disappeared nearly entirely: an empty shell, nostalgic in memory. Awkward in novel discomfort; my recourse, in vain, to force what was no longer there, we made a love I couldn't feel as I tried, and failed, to believe it was real. Our souls' sacred intimacy turned purely physical overnight. And I could have been anyone to you. And you could have been anyone to me, too. And in the jungle starlight outside your window, our love was a universe away.

You're distant, and cold, as if you'd rather I not exist in your world. Have we learned all there is to learn from one another, so that now our friendship is fated to dissolve and we might attract other experiences intended for our spiritual growth? Yes, perhaps. Yet I feel it heavy, all the same.

While difficult, after years of sharing together as friends, I accept it now with love and a promise to no longer force what no longer lives between us. I know everything changes. Everything flows and goes. And my work, with you, is to let it.

I respect your journey, and if it no longer includes me, I wish you joy always. I admire you and appreciate you, grateful for the love and learning you have brought to my life.

Forgive me the things I've said and done that have not come from that place of love; my regret is forever in not having found better ways to do and be towards you. Because I know the distance between us now is mostly because of me. 

What hurts me most about the idea of letting you go is not being able to give you all the love I feel for you. I love you in every sense of the word, having lived every expression of the divine feminine-masculine, together. You are my brother. My lover. My father. My son. And the love I feel for you transcends ego; a love so deep, irrational, untraditional that I rarely understand it. In all of your human imperfection, to me you are beautiful. I don't want to change you, I don't want to possess you. I want to love you. And in my own self-inflicted impotence, that's what hurts the most.

I didn't expect the tears I've cried in writing, but as they say, you never value anything as much as when it's gone.

May our souls embrace, if only in the cosmos, so that our karma can live at peace.

Good night, my friend.



 Tara Ruttenberg is a PhD student, surfer, and writer currently transplanted in Costa Rica. Read more of her stories at Tarantula Surf.