Matthew Perry’s death brought back so many memories from 20 years ago.

My first year as a student in the US was tough. 

New country, new culture, my first time outside of home.
And no friends. 

Until my roommate introduced me to FRIENDS. 

In my first year, I watched every episode of every season several times.
I resonated the most with Chandler’s sarcastic humour and Monica’s catalogued approach to life while secretly wishing I could be the no-f-given Phoebe. 

In my second year, I moved out and got a new roommate.
Sameer was fun, kind, helpful, and smart.
He loved FRIENDS too. 

We bonded beautifully.
And the bond would blossom every Thursday, when a new episode of FRIENDS would air. 

Our routine was buying a frozen $1.99 cheese pizza from the supermarket, sautéeing onions and capsicums as toppings, and having it with orange juice concentrate + water. 

It was the last season of FRIENDS.
It was also the year I decided to drop out of my program and return to India. 

As I was mentally preparing to leave the US, our fictional friends were also moving on. 

As I sat at the airport listening to my playlist on shuffle, one of my favourite songs from the time began to play.
“I’ll be there for you” by the Rembrandts (the theme song of FRIENDS).

I broke down. 

I was saying goodbye to a life-altering time in the US and starting all over again.
I was saying goodbye to a dear friend.
And I was saying goodbye to FRIENDS with Sameer. 

“Am I actually feeling bad about a fictional television series?”

Yes, I was.
Because this series was my companion when I had none.

I could never get myself to watch the final episode.
I haven’t seen it till date.
It’s stupid, I know. 

FRIENDS gave me company, hope, and solace.
It gave me Sameer’s friendship for life.
But what it gave me the most was the best friendship ever.
The one I built with myself. 

You almost think that the stars you grew up watching don’t age. 

Until the day you realise that the character was immortal.
But they weren’t. 

Rest in peace.

Thank you for all the memories ??