Like we used to

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"People are each other's alcohol." My mother used to say. I would lift my head, buried deep in a book, and announce, "I don't need people, I have better friends in books."

It’s been a few years; I'm married and have kids around me but every day I feel a knot in my stomach. Is it okay to be lonely when surrounded by people?

I remember the best part of my life - college. I had finally found friends outside of a book. We were four friends who did everything together, whether it was skipping classes to complete assignments for another class, eating food, pooling in money to buy booze, celebrating every small achievement.

For four years, there were three extensions of me. There was no depression, no loneliness and three times the happiness. I should be thankful that for four years my mind achieved peace and a peculiar kind of love that shatters conventional romance.

Sometime during my musings, I pick up my phone and scroll way down in my chats to find those people. We have barely exchanged any words in ten years. We still know how the other is doing but the magical spell is broken.

Is it an unspoken rule of adulthood that you have to date, get a job, get married, have kids? Can't you spend the rest of your life with your best friends in a tiny dormitory room where your whole world could fit?

I close my eyes for a few seconds and ask everyone to jump on a conference call.

"It is urgent." I write.

They all join in and I'm bombarded with questions.

"What happened?"
"What's the matter?"
"Are you alright?"

I let out a breath to stop my tears.

"Can we talk for a while like we used to?"

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