by The Dreamer
It’s been said that one can only have 150 friends in their lifetime – those whom you share meaningful connections with, where the red thread of fate seems to materialise before your eyes when both of you meet. Recently I’ve been walking with my head down. looking looking looking at the red threads tied loosely at everyone’s pinkies, stepping carefully over the whole entangled mess, touching my own finger and wondering to whom does this red thread entwine itself to?
The other day I caught myself watching a girl sitting opposite me in the train, and I thought to myself, “I could be friends with her.” Sometimes I get this instant platonic attraction to people. It could be their look, or the way they smiled dreamily to themselves, or that short one-lined conversation both of us shared or mostly their vibe, that attracts me to them, and I wonder that if I just walked over and struck a conversation, could that red thread emerge? What magic could we conjure?
It’s only been 2 months into 2016, but I can feel the shift in my energy. Already I’ve been opening myself up, eagerly leaning forward in the ready-set-go stance, and letting myself sprint wildly when the bang resonates in the electrified air. I feel a sort of restlessness that is like an itch at the unreachable corner on my back, and it stems from the thought that surfaces in my mind everyday: There’s so many people to meet, so many things to see. Why am I settling down like dust, stagnant and dormant, when I could continue to lift myself off and let the wind carry me further?
Channeling this positive energy and this unsettledness into making friends has certainly reaped so much benefits in my life. Already I can zoom out and find my social circle expanding, the circumference at least three times wider than what is used to be in 2015. And all this in 2 months. It floors me.
In my real life, I’ve been settling for more than my close circle of 4, and now it warms me to see how connected and close my class and my guitar section has become when more people (like me) stop treading the ground with trepidation and actually allow people to enter, forgiving them of their mistakes and their flaws, and loving them for who they are. I find myself enjoying my everyday life tremendously now; because smiles are easier to catch and connected red threads are easier to find.
And then there’s the internet social circle. I’ve been joining tumblr networks, seeking comfort and camaraderie amongst teens that share the same interests as me. What started off as tentative friendships with a boy from Russia, a girl from Australia and also from Maldives, has suddenly expanded to groups as big as 139 members. My phone is in a constant state of activity from 5 different chat platforms. I wake up to 999+ notifications and several “Good morning, Jean!!” messages from people whom I’m saying “Good night!!” to 5 minutes later. It fills me with a certain sense of adrenaline, to know that my red threads are crossing geographical boundaries too.
Today, I was tutoring a bunch of 16 year olds preparing for their GCSEs, and I was immediately drawn to the quiet girl sitting furthest from me. She smiled readily at everything I said, did her work diligently, and the brightness she radiated off made me like her instantly. She reminded me of Yellow. I see people as colours. And the Yellow ones are always my favourite, because I imagine myself as a brilliant shade of Yellow too.
I somehow knew at the back of my mind that I would click with her. The tips of my fingers were already itching for yet another red thread to be added to the collection.
True enough, we bonded through our favourite bands and our similar interest groups and I fell for her more and more, as a friend. We ended up exchanging numbers before parting ways.
But when she left, I asked myself, “Can I fit her in? Is my heart at full capacity? Is there room for one more?” Why was I so eager to meet more people, as if collecting red threads has become a hobby instead of a means of seeking for meaningful connection?
Most importantly, fear settled heavily in my chest. Who did I accidentally let go of every time I let someone in? I want to think yes, my heart has space, but I wonder if I had maxed out my friendship capacity, or perhaps, have I not even managed to fill up 150 yet?
I seem to be throwing the term “friends” around flimsily. Some red threads could be counterfeits, even, and with some tugging and pulling the knots would come undone and the strings would fray beyond recognition and the solid connection we once had would just sublime away without me knowing. Maybe I do see the sublimation occur before my eyes, but nothing can be done but sigh.
Surely it’s much better to love as many people as possible, but I’ll like to think that there is always room for one more, and I hope that I figure out why collecting red threads has been so important to me. Perhaps I’m just scared that without these red threads to weigh me down, without being tied to someone or something that matters, I would simply…float away.
钧 x x
j e a n x x