It was June 26, 2008 and 12-year-old Julia was heading home to Korea. Bags packed, she walked with Olivia and her mom to D. Roy Kennedy Public School, where the bus was waiting to take the exchange students to Toronto.
The friends had slept in the living room the night before, a special venue for their last night together. Despite the new locale, they still held hands while sleeping; a tradition they couldn’t change.
Losing someone is a horrible thing to suffer, and something I’ve experienced far too often in my life. It can take your breath, corrupt your memories, and drive you insane as you grasp to make sense of it all.
Albus Dumbledore once said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times." When Olivia returned home, missing her friend, she found a goodbye letter in the dresser drawer of Julia's empty room.
Julia’s goodbye letter was the first of many sent between the two during their eight years apart. Both of them fought to stay in contact, using Facebook, e-mail, and everything else.
I thought I understood what Julia had meant to Olivia but I didn’t. Not until visiting her in South Korea, where eight years and 10 000 kilometres didn’t matter. They were laughing, linking arms, and holding each other like no time was lost.
The three of us stumbled upon a small arcade room one rainy night in Seoul’s Anam district. Seven or eight claw machines lined the walls, different stuffed prizes packed in each. After much laughter and many attempts, we won the plush toy that we wanted.
Writing this makes me miss my friends from high school, my brothers that I laughed with every day. Our late-night talks at Champlain Lookout, those dull mornings sitting at the foot of our lockers. The random road trips to Toronto, Waterloo, or Niagara Falls, only to end up hitting a pizza joint and heading home.
There’s a lesson to be learned here: Time and distance shouldn’t be the excuses that keep you from who and from what you love. I know this is something I’ve been guilty of, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Cody Lirette is a man who likes a good cup of coffee. A barista by day and writer by night, Cody is currently working on a personal blog about health, nutrition, and literature. He is enjoying his second year in Algonquin College's Professional Writing program.