I just learned that two old friends, X and Y—one I haven’t spoken to in almost a year, the other I haven’t spoken to in many years—got married to each other. I was surprised by the news because, one, I didn’t know they were dating, and, two, I didn’t expect either of them to get married any time soon. Other people, like my good friend A, were surprised by the news because they weren’t even aware that the two knew each other!
How I learned the news was pretty strange too. I was chatting with another good friend, B, through an online messenger (we were talking about really expensive olive oil, of all things), when he suddenly switched topics to relay the news that our two old friends, as he put it, “were a couple.” I was in the middle of saying that it wasn’t surprising to learn that they were in a relationship with each other, when B corrected himself and said, “Scratch that—they got married!”
Once we confirmed the news with our other friends—I confirmed it with X himself, whom I immediately texted to send my good wishes—we got over our surprise and began processing what we had just confirmed.
B was, well, a bit negative about the marriage. A and I were more positive. A and I didn’t find being positive very easy, though, and it was understandable why B found it difficult, because our memories of X and Y—Wasn’t he dating that girl? Wasn’t she dating that guy? Etc.—did/do not mix with the fact that they are now married to each other.
Then A said it: “X and Y are lifetimes away.”
How true! Of course our memories of X and Y, once personal and intimate, don’t match who they are now—we haven’t spoken to them in so long. What we “know” about them no longer applies. In the same way that what they “know” about us no longer applies.
And yet, even if they are lifetimes away, we are all undeniably interconnected. Y and I used to be very good friends, until she stopped talking to me. Y and A also used to be good friends, but they drifted apart. X and I used to be very good friends as well, but we also drifted apart. X and A met because I introduced them to each other; they became friends, but eventually drifted apart as well. (FYI: A and I became friends because of another individual altogether, but that’s another story. That individual, though, is still good friends with Y.)
Undeniably interconnected, but lifetimes away. What a strange thing. It feels like something new and foreign is making its own space, without permission, in my past, which, no matter how distant or untouched it is, is still part of who I am.
I guess this is simply part of getting older: People change, friends change, relationships change. The past, however, does not change, can never be changed. And that’s why friends—even if they are lifetimes away, even if you are no longer friends, even if you no longer want them—are still, strangely, part of your life.