"Are you happy?" I asked her while looking into her sad eyes.
"I love you more than you know and i am here for you" I told her when she didn't reply to my first question and stared at me in tears.
This girl was my best friend, i had known her for as long as i lived and over the years i had learned to love her and understand her to the deepest level. Our bond was strong and I thought nothing could pull us apart, but one day things started to change and slowly but steadily she built an insurmountable wall between us.
An old Italian adage says "You can assert to know someone only after you've eaten 7 bags of salt with them". That means that you never really know someone until you experience hardship with them because that's when their true nature comes out. Pain strips out all hypocrisy and exposes the core of one's character.
For a while I was angry at her for cutting me out of her life but eventually i accepted that she needed space and maybe time to re-evaluate our bond so one day I let her go telling her that i would always be there for her if she ever decided to come back.
Years passed by and I witnessed the person i once knew to be an energetic, positive, interesting, curious, funny, empathic and caring girl now become a shell of a woman. She had no interests or passions that would ignite her soul, her bubbly personality had been replaced by bitterness and frustration and her eyes were as empty as her life. I knew she was living a lie but she acted as if she couldn't see any of that. Her fake smile and her fake happy life got everyone fooled but me, so I kept whispering my truth into her ears in spite of her deafness and resistance because i knew that deep down in her heart she felt i was right and she valued my opinion.
For some people the only thing that gets to move the needle and create a change is deep, excruciating pain but that's a risky game to play. Pain can be catalyst to change but sometimes you can lose yourself before you hit the threshold of tolerance.
Fortunately for my friend she was able to dart out of her black hole right before losing herself and when she finally pulled down the curtain of hypocrisy I was able to reach out to her and ask her the question that i longed to ask for years.
"Are you happy?"
People who want the best for you want you to be your best, said Oprah once. I loved this girl from head to toe and all that i wanted for her was happiness. I knew that the way she answered that question would determine the course of the rest of her life so i wanted her to know that i was there for her, that I loved her and that no matter how far she had got from me i was still her number one fan and I believed in her more than she believed in herself.
It took us time and effort to repair the damages done to our relationship. She had to learn to listen to me again, to take care of me and love me just as much as I always loved her but we've come a long way and when she tells me she loves me now i know she means it.
I know she will never let me down again because what we went through is worth more than a thousand bags of salt eaten together, grain by grain.
And when i meet her in the mirror every morning I thank her for being my pillar, my support and my partner in crime in this crazy journey called life.