Sometimes I wonder if the universe loves to play jokes on me, just to see my reaction.
I met one of my closest friends here a year ago, one day after my birthday. I was hanging out at The Hobbit with my other friends — who were pushing shots at me — when we were introduced. I smiled at her and we talked about the classic stuff (‘Where do you come from? What are you studying?’), and some time after that she left. Months later, she told me she thought I hated her when we first met. Exactly a year after our first meeting, she gave me a card for my birthday, with ‘I’m glad I met you’ written between the lines. Another best friend thought I was a bitch when we first met in class, but just a week ago we hugged and cried in a little café in Covent Garden when she was leaving the UK for good.
There are also other people whose stories with me are not as sweet. There’s a person whom I liked from the beginning, and we used to spend a lot of time together to the point that I dreaded the time when we had to say goodbye. Unfortunately, things fall apart, and probably we’re only gonna be each other’s somebody-that-I-used-to-know from now on. Funnily enough, this thing brought someone else into my life (who later became my housemate), with whom I wouldn’t have been as close as this if things were okay with my other friend. I always tell this housemate that she’s a silver lining, as cliché as it may sound.
I’ve learned that no matter how much I prepare myself for the surprises, the universe always beats me. Just when I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve got this,’ the universe would smirk and say, ‘Not that easy, girl,’ and throw something unexpected at me. Take, for instance, a stranger who was once sitting beside me during exam period in the library. I had no idea who he was, and months later we occasionally meet and have crazy experiences like drinking a bottle of wine at Riverside Park while talking about everything, and almost got caught by a police. There’s also another stranger whom I met at the postgraduate meeting early in the year, and as time goes by, we’re constantly surprised by how similar our choices for books and movies are. That stranger whom I met at The Bridge a year ago, is now someone I exchange Murakami’s quotes with, something I rarely do.
Those surprises are not always fun. Sometimes it’s annoying, or painful, or just cringe-worthy. But most of the time, it works fine, and I’m secretly looking forward to it.
So keep going, universe.