Parallel Lines

Is there anyone you’re drifting away from?

I looked at the randomly-generated question and felt a familiar weight in my stomach (you know, the one that all the butterflies settle on when they get tired of flapping about). I had been hoping for something sillier from this particular ask meme, but there it was… time to be serious.

I pondered, drumming my fingers against the desk. Certainly, as someone who has moved from place to place, there are people I once knew and whom I have since never spoken to again. Physical distance often causes emotional distance; out of sight and out of mind. And, although there are always social media platforms willing to help me track down play-pals of yesteryear… there are some people from whom I prefer to remain parted. And of course, there are a good handful of people whom I can safely say don’t want me anywhere near their lives as well.

We grow-up; we don’t change, I think, we just simply grow into ourselves. And sometimes in the course of growing up we realize that the people we knew when we were 13 are not the people we want to know at 28.

However, I have (as I’m sure many people do) certain acquaintances with whom I do not wish to be separated… even though it tends to take almost all of the effort on my part to persevere the relationship.

These are the titular “parallel lines.”

When I was in 6th grade, my geometry teacher joked that parallel lines were miserable because “no matter how close they are, they will never get together.”

As my readers doubtless have figured out, I have been blessed with some incredible friends. And within this group, I still count a few unique individuals with whom I rarely speak… and it is even rarer that I see them.

These are individuals whom, when I first knew them, were very close to me; I felt an affinity towards them and they to me (I think; I have eye-witness accounts to support this theory). There were many precious instances, in fact, when they and I were inseparable. We not only enjoyed each others’ company, but shared an understanding of the silence between words; we understood each other. It was intimate, at times frightening… and perhaps it was even a little delusional (a shared delusion, regardless).

However, in the course of growing up and moving away from the places where these friendships were formed, separations outnumber the reunions. Yet whenever I see these old friends again, our brief time together is joyous; in the space of 30 minutes we somehow manage  to compress the years apart to nothing.

But after these reunions? The silence returns. And I find myself questioning whether the relationships are worth struggling to keep. I dread the occasion when I will next see them and discover a void where once conversation flowed like a mountain stream. I do not want to thirst after their company for the rest of my life but, thus far, I do.

So then, what is the solution? Do I shrug my shoulders and murmur something about “ships in the night?” Do I let them disappear over the horizon towards new lands and take an ax to the ship-to-ship radio? Or is it better to stay my course, as a little parallel line to these friends, and simply cherish the closeness I feel to them, even if the “coming together” is, logically, never to occur?

The math, as before, remains a mystery…