Friends - Haohan Tang '17

Sitting at the corner table, there is just constant silence between us and unstoppable texting. Holding a phone in your hand becomes a common thing in our meeting. People always say that everything changed but friends never change. Same friends, at same place, but we all know that things change. We can still sit together and have an nice and friendly talk. Chatting about our simple and invariable and changeless life and praise each other like strangers who meet each other for first time. I want to talk about my life in America; I want to tell you that how much I miss you guys. However, you guys will never ask, so this dream will never come true . I feel lost.

I am not part of you guys anymore even though we were so close that we can share everything. I feel embarrassed and helpless every time you guys talk about things that I don’t understand. I pretend like I am interested about it, but how can I know about your study, your school lives and your college application if you never talk about it with me. I did ask, and you guys did answer to me, but always short and perfunctory like “ This is just some math problem. Don’t worry about it.” or like “ you don’t understand.” You never know how much a sentence can hurt. I want to understand you, and I am always trying to. At the same time, I want to be understood. However, the question you guys ask is always like “ Are shoes cheaper in America ?” or “ Is study easier than China?”. Maybe in your mind, I am just a boy who escaped from the Chinese education and is having fun in the America. Seems like I am not one of you anymore.

* * *

A sunny day is always the best day to play basketball. Sitting in the classroom and waiting for the school bell is the most painful and endless for us teenagers. We have been looking forward the bell rings, and then run to the basketball court to spend our exhaustless energy. Basketball bounces on the ground like our heartbeat. Shooting a buzzer beater, chasing each other for a basketball, sitting in the dining hall to watch the NBA final, fighting with other classes, those simple and stupid trifles make up my life and my all happiness. I smile like a fool on the basketball court and with all you guys. I will smile because of winning a game; I will smile because of an ice cream; I will smile because of a bad joke; I will smile because one of you fell down. Truly friend is who will pull you up when you fall down but always after laughing at you. I looked up the sky, there is a image of us.

* * *

Friendship can be strong but also can be weak. I believed that my friendships are the strongest relationship in the world. We have each other's backs; We will stand next to each other when we need each other; we will stand on one side no matter it’s right or not; we will be each other’s backup forever. My friendships might look so tough that no one believe we are the best friends. However, instead of caring about each other every second we prefer to yell at each other for most time and appear when any one of us need help. We would meet each other at three o’clock in the morning because one of us want. We would fight with other people because he yells at one of us on basketball court. We would escape from the fight together, but we will never leave one of us alone. Friendship means company to me. Friendship is the most important thing for me beside family. How can I not talk about friendship when it is all I get.

* * *

    Watching through the window, familiar roads pass me. On the way to the airport, dribs and drabs of my past life and memories are attacking my mind. Future is like a mystery mist for me. I don’t want to leave here; here is the place that I was born and I grow up. I have family, friends here. I don’t want to leave them; I don’t want to go America; I don’t want to leave. Those ideas keep resounding in my head. I didn’t have any emotions about leaving until the moment that I left home. On the car, every buildings that passed by car have my memories and my past. With the sound of the vibration, I wake up from the self-talking. “ I am in front of the crocodile museum”, my friend texts me. Next second, I see him standing in front of the crocodile museum which is on the way to airport. He wears a red hat and our basketball uniform of middle school. He waves his hand at me like three years ago when we met each other at first time. That pure smile and that red hat will never change just like our friendship. The sun just rises; thinnish fog still pervades in the six o’clock morning. When the car passes the crocodile museum, I turn around my head. The tears gush to my eyes. He is my friend, always.

* * *

    Sitting at the corner table, I watch my friends playing their phones. “ Phone seems like more important and interesting than our conversations. If, I mean if my friends will leave phone, will our friendship turns back to before?”, at the same time self-talking ends in my mind, they put down their phones and say “ Alright, Tell me something about America. How is basketball there? Are those people stronger than us?” One question after another one come to me. That’s not the end. They stand up and pull me up from the chair, “ You want to play basketball ? Want to be smashed by me like before ?”. A smile rises on my face, “ You mean like I smashed you before?”. With the basketball gets into the rim, the sound of net, it seems like back in time. Jumping in the air, everything seems like completely same as three years ago. Hearing the ring of the school bell, we run out of the classroom and rush to the basketball court.