Sunday, April 15, 2007

Distance and Connection

Once upon a time there were two people. They really enjoyed each other’s company. They spent 2 or 3 evenings a week together. They went out. They cooked meals. They drank wine. They made love. They talked and laughed. One day, one said to the other one: Why don’t we plan a weekend together and do something. Anything you want. Ok said the other one. Soon after that their get-togethers started to get more difficult to schedule, and slowly they saw less and less of one another.

When, after some weeks, the eventual confrontation occurred, where one professed love and hope for a future, the other admitted to struggling with feelings for a past love; with uncertainty in their ability to ever commit or engage again. Yet they seemed to leave that meeting with an agreement to continue to see one another, and for a few months they pretended that nothing had changed, until one day contact just ceased.

The abandoned person cried, and yelled into the lonely silence. After a number of months, when they thought they were over the worst of it… they sent a message. Very slowly over the next few months, contact was restored between them. They acknowledged a connection, a need, a desire, and a fear – each had a different fear…. but fear was there. One day the abandoned person said to the other…. I can’t do this anymore…. I want more…. I can’t be just your friend that you have sex with. So for a few months again, they tried not to have contact …. But now the distancer could not seem to maintain the distance.

Ultimately, neither one of them could maintain the distance, and again very slowly…. contact between them grew more frequent…. phone calls, emails, instant messaging… dates….contact became a regular part of their life. Strangely, the one who was ‘the distancer’ was the one who most often initiated contact. Months passed. There were moments of closeness, even moments of tension…. but they passed. Through it all, distance was maintained…. yet not. A pretence of closeness and an equal pretence of distance. Which was real? Which was not?

Which was more real?

One day, one said to the other one…. would you consider taking a vacation with me? Yes, said the other one. I would.

Very shortly after that, the other one said to the first one: I’m sorry…. I’m going to be moving far far away.

Months passed. They were hard months. But the last few weeks they had together they seemed to grow yet ever closer. On the day of the move, they went to the airport. As the one who was leaving was getting ready to leave they promised to come back in a few months so they could have that vacation together. Did they both shed a tear or two? Or did just one of them?

The distancer, who now lived thousands of miles away, still made contact on a very regular basis. There was no denying that they were connected…. and even distance did not change that connection. Yet still…. now there were two kinds of distance between them.

They talked regularly and they looked forward to the ‘vacation’. The vacation happened… and it was as if they had never been apart. They talked. They laughed. They cooked meals. They drank wine. They went out. They made love.

But again, there was a trip to the airport. There were tears shed. And the loneliness seemed to grow even bigger.

There is a connection, yet there is a distance. This is the reality.

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