My Oldest Friend

I write. That’s what I do. When something great happens to me and I’m bursting with joy and gratitude to my Creator, I write. When my heart is breaking and I feel like crying, I write. When I come to a turning point in my life or I reach some groundbreaking discovery about life, or about myself–you’ve guessed it–I write. I write about anything that matters to me, anyone who matters, anything that’s close to my heart–or that hurts my heart. I write poetry or just little pieces–words strung together, trying to express the emotions I feel. But, recently, I’ve noticed that there’s one ‘thing’ that I’ve never written about. One person who has never sprung from my mind and from my heart into words on a page. She is my friend. My ‘oldest friend’ (Side note: this post is partly due to my own random realisation of this non-occurrence and further spurred on by one of WordPress.com’s ‘Topic Ideas’ for blog posts. It says: ‘Write about your oldest friend’. So that is what I’ll do.)

So, by now you know that she is my oldest friend. We’ve been friends since high school–we’ve known each other since the eighth grade, but only actually became friends in the tenth. Our friendship had a random beginning, I barely even remember its actual starting point. I do, however, remember one particular instance when I thought to myself, ‘She’s so cool, I like how she thinks’. She shared my values and we respected the same things. I was used to people at my high school, and other social circles, thinking less of those who valued their religion, those who chose to live their lives modestly. So, when I met her, this is what I had expected from her, only to be pleasantly proved wrong, and it was at this point that I knew I wanted to be her friend. She never knew it, but I had always wanted to be like her. Back in high school, I wasn’t the person that I am now. I have changed much. I didn’t always cover all my hair–I thought that completely covering all my hair with my scarf made my face look even rounder than it already is (I used to wear it with some fringe out in the front). But she would wear her scarf so beautifully, and all her hair would be in. I wanted to be like her. I did not know as much about religious matters as she did. She knew a lot about things that matter. I wanted to be like her. She recited the Qur’an beautifully and fluently. I wanted to be like her. She was always so nonchalant about insignificant teenage drama, she was a great listener, a whole lot of fun to be around, and a really good friend. I wanted her to be my friend. And she was. She is.

She has led me to so many new things and she has taught me so many things–but she doesn’t even know it. And this is one of the things I’ve always loved most about her; she never teaches me by instructing me. She teaches me and changes me simply by being who she is. One of the things she’s taught me that I will always value is how to be a good friend, because she was always a good friend to me. And the greatest way that she has changed me is by inspiring me to love deen as much as she always has. And that is a love that no one can put in your heart by telling you to love it. It is a love that can only grow through being nurtured by the love that exists within a kindred spirit.

Now, granted that she is such a significant person in my life, I began to wonder why I had never written about her before. I write about things and people close to my heart, and she certainly is close. Very close. I pondered, and I pondered. I didn’t like that I didn’t have an answer. And then I realised what it was. Practically all the poetry that I have ever written has been about one of two things: sadness or new phases in my life. She fits into neither. She has not been the cause of any of my sadness, and she has never been a phase in my life. She is my friend for life (in-shaa-Allah). Even when I first met her, it didn’t feel like I was entering into a ‘new phase’, or starting a ‘new friendship’. It felt like we had always known each other, like we were always friends. And so, after this realisation, it all made sense to me, I knew why I had never written about her before. But, regardless of her being in neither of the two categories, I still felt that I really wanted to write something about her–it just didn’t seem fair that all the bad stuff (and some bits of the good) should be etched in immortal words, but my friendship with her wasn’t.

I am thankful for my friendship with her, and I am thankful to Allah for guiding me to her (or her to me), because I know with certainty that it was not by chance. Alhamdulillah.

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