Asymmetry

I have an asymmetrical bob now.

No, I did not adopt a kid named Robert whose left eye is smaller than his right. I just got a sassy haircut courtesy of the amazing Mrs Ong. Why this is news is because my visit to her salon happened on the second last weekend I get to spend with my girl Claud before she leaves for Canada. Next weekend, I’m camping out at her place to help her pack up her entire life into two giant suitcases.

I am sort of massively freaking out.

We’ve done long distance before. For one year, when we went on consecutive exchange semesters without catching each other in between. But knowing that one of my best and most reliable friends is going away for good this time dials the separation anxiety up a hundred times. There’s no more return date.

My new hairstyle is a shoved-down-your-throat-with-a-maraschino-cherry-on-top metaphor for how I feel about Claudia’s departure. The change is jarring, even obtrusive and throws you off balance and kind of prickles your neck in a way you may get used to but will never like. (But no, it’s still an awesome cut. Did I mention that her mom is amazing?)

What I want to talk about today is the asymmetry in our friendship, because I think one of the best things about being friends with Claudia is the fact that we so different.

Claudia, for those of you who don’t know her, is gorgeous. She’s athletic and tanned (yeah I look like an undercooked pile of pizza dough next to her). She’s got mermaid hair- violets and greens and blues and a touch of blonde – hidden beneath a curtain of dark tresses. She’s got eyes that you’ll have trouble finding your way out of. (She’s also got a boyfriend waiting for her in Canada. Sorry to disappoint you guys.)

If our lives were a sitcom, I’d be the nerdy Asian to her lead role. I know they say opposites attract but I find that most of my close friends are pretty similar to me. Claud is the captain of practically every sports team she’s ever been in, and she’s been in a lot of them. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t step on to a ball court even if you paid me to. I can wile away hours in a museum (one of the bestie bonding activities Leryee and I enjoy). She’d rather die. She goes on crazy shopping sprees, while I have to seriously contemplate spending more than $5 on a coffee.

Which is why I was surprised that we became friends.

It was her doing, really. Claud’s unreserved and arresting energy infiltrated and claimed a part of my heart without consent. What I cannot (or don’t know how to) give automatically – commitment beyond expressed affection – she just reached out and took. It was so easy and yet that was all I really needed.

I learned a lot in the four years that we’ve been friends. Her perspective towards life and opportunity has shaped the way I evaluate my circumstances. Many a time over the course of our friendship we would look to one another when we had personal problems. I would always tell her to take a measured response to people, to think about their motivations and her own. But she would throw caution to the wind, often yielding better, or at least, more interesting results. When I was afraid of taking chances, letting my guard down, she’d say go for it, just do it, what do you have to lose? Though I am still neurotic and anxious, I have come to accept that unexpectedly wonderful things can come from hasty decisions.

She calls me her brain, and she’s my heart.

Now my heart is leaving for another continent and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the wifi will be strong enough to keep my emotions synced and updated. I am sad. I’m going to allow myself to feel sad about this. I am going to let myself be as mushy as heck because if there’s one thing that Claudia has taught me it’s that we all have the right to show people that they mean the world to us and demand that we remain important to them.

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