In what feels like another lifetime ago, a friend (but we’re not particularly close now) and her boyfriend both graduated from college. They were together months after they first set foot in university; they lasted until a couple of years after heading out to face the real world. They were a sweet pair, those two. They went to every party together. They owned a joint social networking site. They lived five minutes away from each other, so they were constantly joined at the hip. People believed that it was only a matter of time before they got married.
In one of those obligatory grad dinner photo albums—the joint site probably no longer exists, so I can’t be sure what the exact words were—the guy said, probably joking at that time, “Will you still wait for me until after law school?” It was a joke, because everyone knew that of course she would wait, and they would live happily ever after.
Well, the bar exam results were released today. People have been sending their congratulations on his Facebook wall. Four years of law school plus more months of studying and nail-biting anticipation of the bar exam results is no joke. But the difference is that unlike other girlfriends who have been proudly barking out the results all evening, her Facebook wall is devoid of any mention of him. On the contrary, the latest post is a lovingly drawn sketch of her current beau, who is as different from her college love as black is from white: the lawyer vs. the artist. But superficial differences aside, they’re clearly in love, and it oozes out of their every pore. Of course, that’s just an outsider’s point of view, because like I said earlier, we’re not close anymore.
It’s been five years since that graduation. She’s been through a lot: worked in a bank, resigned and put up her own business, lost a loved one to cancer. Him, I’m not quite sure—apart from the fact that he just passed the bar exam. Somewhere along the way, we fell out of touch and settled into our own lives without feeling the need to see and confide in each other. But I still remember the times that not a week would go by before we cooked up some crazy escapade, and I suppose that’s what I should choose to remember—not the constantly rescheduled lunches that never push through, or the text messages that never merit replies.
Until now, I’m not quite sure what happened to the two of them. Chalk it up to the fact that people change, and that relationships usually deteriorate by slowly crumbling to the ground—not with quick, sharp blows that everyone can see and hear. The funny thing about making romantic sentiments public is that long after you’ve dusted yourself off upon ending a relationship, people will remember what was said and done between the two of you. Like those post-graduation snapshots, and a naïve but brave statement about waiting for a happily-ever-after when law school ends. After all, at 21 years old, what did any of us know?