On the subject of connections

This last month has been a record breaking one for reuniting with people from my past. After four (!) people reappeared in my life (two on the same day), I thought seriously for a moment that it was so twilight zone bizarre, it either meant I was fated to die, Final Destination style, or the world was going to end.

Reconnecting with your past is never an easy thing.

What happens is that one day you check your email and there they are: long lost relatives, ex boyfriends, lovers, school friends and that one guy whose name you forgot, the one you backpacked with that summer. The one that abandoned you for that Scandinavian girl with the fake tan. Your past appears personified and unannounced, wiping its feet on your (virtual) doorstep.

‘How are you?’ you ask, taken up with the giddiness of it all. You invite the past in, swap stories, saying how nice you look and wow, you haven’t aged one bit!

Catching up is initially pleasant, full of surprises and heart warming reminisces. You throw another log onto the fireplace and wonder why you didn’t get in touch sooner

But then it happens. They eventually say something torpid; or most likely you do. Awkward silence fills the space where words use to be. And you realise how stupid and silly you were to think it would be any different this time around.

You have nothing or little in common. Probably the reason you no longer speak. But how to get around the uncomfortable feeling that time has grown like moss under your feet? How long do you smile politely until they start to irk you? How much time do you spend nodding and asking inane questions before you are face to face with a connection (like a dead parrot) that is no longer?

If you are unlucky, bitterness ensues. It is your fault, they sulk. You were never happy to see me in the first place. If you cared you would have stayed in touch.

Maybe. The truth is I AM terrible at connections. My first novel is all about them, based on a time when I was good at being a hub with arms and legs and nodes coming off me like tentacles. Now I can’t wait to rip the bloody things off.

You and your ex-loved ones sit on opposite ends of the couch, miserable and feeling like failures. What initially felt so right, has now been tarnished with the memory of how it was, instead of how it should have been. But you’ve already gone through the motions, no use talking about what you could have said or done differently. You are destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again because, underneath it all, you are still the same people.

You walk them to the door. Come back and see me soon, you say, not meaning it. European double kisses, hugs and promises to stay in touch, and then they are gone.

Count yourself lucky if they turn around and wave goodbye.


  1. Gemwolf

    There is always, ALWAYS a good reason why you loose touch with people. And if you’ve lost the connection, then there is no going back. It’s like a long distance relationship. You think it can. But it won’t.Make no mistake it’s always nice to bump into someone you had a brilliant time with. Once. A long time ago. But that’s all it is. “Nice”. There’s no better word. using another word would be a lie.Err… Did I have a point? Guess not.The question of course remains why would the past come knocking on your door in such a violent, and perhaps unwelcome manner? Perhaps not everything has a deeper meaning. Maybe fate is just a word?Boy am I on a rambling road today?I’ll end it now. And come back tomorrow with much better wisdom to share.Sigh. Pathetic really.

  2. Philip

    I disagree. There isn’t always necessarily a good reason for losing touch with someone, especially if this happened in the days before everyone had a cellphone and an email address that didn’t expire after 30 days without use. In november of last year I ran into someone I hadn’t seen for almost 10 years, and it could not have gone better – we now talk and see each other regularly and are closer friends than before losing contact.The temptation to try and establish rules for this kind of thing is obvious from a perspective of making witty and arresting blog posts, but doesn’t necessarily have all that much to do with the actual randomness and constantly rewritten nature of human relationships. People change minute by minute – tiny variances of circumstance can lead to huge differences in result. You might love someone you hate if only you’d met them 10 minutes earlier.

  3. Philip, I agree about timing being crucial to love. You can almost arrive at it by formula.The nature of a person’s change is so complex that while we may change certain aspects of ourselves minute by minute (second by second even?) our core is still much the same.As far as establishing rules for reunions, I do no such thing. I’m just putting it out there, lamenting the fact that *I*, who ironically am writing a book on connections, have no idea how to keep one alive. Possibly because of my lack of desire, which really is the whole problem I think. But reencountering people is not the same as love and timing works in a different way – precisely because you are not atuned to the tiny nuances or prepared (or open) for the encounter.Ugh, too early in the morning to think. Sorry if I make no sense. Thank you for the comment.

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