When I graduated from university in 2014, I was filled with ambitions and goals to destroy a particular person. Being fueled by anger and rage isn’t really a viable source of energy. I burnt out. I had nothing and no one to hang onto, so I fell into a hole. After struggling for a year, I met some interesting people in a café near my place. Since my mother was a pain in the ass (she still is), I kept going back to them. First, they became close acquaintances because we talked about coffee. They got me to convert to speciality coffee rather than drinking shitty Starbucks coffee. From there, we talked about things that you would normally hear in a café in Europe like philosophy, economics, religion, literature, sociology, politics, etc.
From acquaintances, we became friends who asked about each others’ day or life. We gave each other encouragements and laughs. We’d talk for hours and hours about work, family, and university. It was like that for so many months until finally, I thought of them as a family.
Coming from a shitty family with shitty parents and no siblings, they were the closest thing I had to a family. We would care for each other. Truly care for each other. If something bad happened at home, they would come to the café to seek comfort. Heck, that was my reason why I kept going there every day. I would be there from the time they’d open to the time they’d closed. It was then that I realised three things about a family. You are either born into a family, make your own family, or find a new family.
I found a new family, and I was really happy that I did.
Then, something happened. The energy in our group became less and less. And, fewer and fewer people were coming back. Until one day, the café closed. Without a home, the family was cast away like evicted people on the streets. I saw them less not because it was difficult to see them (it was relatively easy) but because I didn’t know where they were hanging out.
After months of hiatus, the old café was declared bankrupt, and a new café would take its place. I was excited to see all of my old friends. I was excited to get that old life back. I was excited to have my family back again. But there was one thing that I didn’t take into account.
Time moves forward and so do the people with it. It was naive of me to think that nothing would change. It was childish to think that people would wait for me. During the hiatus, my friends were still in touch with each other. I, on the other hand, drifted further from them. And to top it all off, I had gotten incredibly ill. I had to stay at home for a month just to regain my strength.
My absence from everyone drove me away from them, and I just didn’t know how to catch up. I couldn’t tell them to wait for me because what kind of a dickbag friend would I be if I did?
I came to the new cafe every day as always. But then, staying there for hours on end became painful and uncomfortable. Everyone was closer with each other, and it felt like I was back at square one.
What really drove a stake through my chest was how friendly everyone was to this new girl. She achieved a level of friendliness that I never could, and she did that in the few months she knew everyone. I knew everyone for two years, and I still felt like an outsider.
As the months passed, my visiting hours at the cafe dwindled. I used to be there every night. The cafe would be packed with the regulars, and they’d share laughs and stories. Now, just being in the same room with all of them makes me feel small.
So, I started to slip away as naturally as I could. From every day to every other day, to every two days, to every five days, to every week. Now, once every two weeks.
I don’t even visit at night because I know everyone would be there, so I go as early as I can. The cafe is practically empty at opening hours save for the barista or the co-owner. Sometimes, I only go there if someone asks me when I’m not busy or if I have no coffee at home.
I feel much better now that I spend less time with them. Having my own bag of beans and coffee making equipment at home saves me tons of money. It’s also a good reason not to visit the cafe. I have lost those friends as my family, but I fell in love with a girl. Those friends of mine can’t give me what my girlfriend gives me, so I’m happy.