One of the most difficult goodbyes is that between two best friends that live across the globe.
This morning, I said goodbye to my dear friend Kaća, an Eastern European girl born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia. It’s an unlikely friendship; our childhoods could not have been more different. One of us grew up in a war-torn Yugoslavia, the other in a sleepy suburb in the Golden State. But despite our varying backgrounds, we became close confidants, sharing our nagging worries and our upmost joys.
We met in Madrid at a lecture. I ended up dropping the course - the professor told all non-native speakers to leave, but Kaća bravely stayed. We went out a few times before revealing our true selves to each other. There were stories, crude jokes, drunken nights, tales of exes and hook-ups: all these pieces of our lives were revealed.
Someone once asked Kaća if she has a problem with me because my country bombed hers in the early 90s. She answered, “Well, she didn’t bomb us, did she?"
We looked past the conflicts between our homelands. Instead, we were children in the playground that is Madrid, sharing our crayons and chalk to leave a mark on the city we love. We found our independence together, discovering that we were capable of so much more than we thought before. We grew up together, starting as children and becoming the worldly almost-adults that we are today.
I left Serbia today to catch a flight back to our once-shared playground. But this can’t be goodbye. We both yearn to travel and taste the flavors of the world. We will find each other in some corner of the Earth. Until then, my childhood friend.