“The softness and fragility of baby animals caused us the same intense pain.
She wanted to be a nurse in some famished Asiatic country; I wanted to be a famous spy.”
– Vladimir Nobokov, Lolita
She lowered her book from above her head and placed it on her chest, taking in the words she had read. We all have strange moments in life where the change of season, the color of the sky, the taste of the air, a certain phrase triggers an indescribable sensation that causes a rapid train of thought.
The description of inaccessible love is constantly being updated with each innocent, devastating interaction with the person you’re most drawn to in that moment. This person could end up being your best friend, a temporary friend, a lover, or even your absolute worst enemy. They are further away from your current situation as they could possibly be. Turning that moment of painful desire into actuality is out of reach, and this knowledge is mutual. By chance it’s as glamorous as Nobokov’s description, a flamboyant actress and the anti-social research type…maybe it’s a lonely girl dreaming of a world in which mythical creatures exist, or perhaps it’s two average citizens who just can’t imagine how this could possibly work. We’ve all been there at one time, she thought to herself–and if you haven’t yet, it’s likely you will. It’s not anyone’s fault, really…these things, they just happen. It’ll riddle your mind for days because many times, it’s the last person on earth you’d expect. “Every day, people like myself scan over the crowds we surpass, only taking note of those we think we’re directly related to–the fashionista down the street, the interesting looking girl with the cool hair who I’d definitely be friends with…people like us never stop in our tracks for the average Joe. Why would someone so accustomed to glitter, be attracted to rust? Or, why would someone on their way up ever look down?” This train of thought, She
discovered, is detrimental…how many opportunities in disguise had she passed by in her life? “Many, I’m sure.”. The nice guy trying to compliment her only to be met with a terrible attitude and unattractive ego; the shy girl reaching out to someone who seems approachable only to be let down.
A change of scenery helps in many respects–this being one of them. It doesn’t mean that everything she left behind was suddenly thrown away…more so that she returned after disappearing with a different perspective, a new lens. “Learning to be selfless in moderation comes with time and experience, I suppose; getting yourself hurt by being completely selfless creates a selfish
monster who hurts anyone who gets in their way.” This, she realized, was a crucial step to achieving empathy.
Allowing her lack of control to be the dominant factor in the recent events in her life, all she could really do was reminisce on the last few months to figure out how she can move forward from such a change of pace. “I’ve met such wonderful people–it’s a shame they’re not where I am going“…but then again, perhaps that isn’t the case–there’s a chance that part of the beauty is that they were only meant to be there for a brief time, “they were there when I needed them, and that’s what makes them beautiful“. She continued looking back on the last conversation she had with a dear friend she had made and in that moment, realized the gravity of the
situation–that perhaps she had not just broken his heart, but a bit of her own as well.
Allowing herself to confide in people had never been much of an issue, she had always had a good sense of who was trustworthy and
who was not. They were both sensible and realistic people with a little bit of crazy thrown into the mix, and that’s why they got along so well. It was never “like that“, she thought to herself, but the pain behind the way he said goodbye was undeniably complex and “I’ll miss you” illustrated by his facial expression spelled out how much of a shame he must have thought it was that she was leaving. She had always been the girl who got away, but this time she was the girl who was leaving with a pang of guilt for the way her company had affected such a genuine human. They both knew it was goodbye for good, no use in pretending their hilarious hangouts with their ridiculous friends would exceed any further. It was goodbye, “hug?”, and see you never.
“Funny”, she thought to herself, “how most people in life come in to affect your idea of the way things are for better, or for worse…but now, I’ve had someone come in and change nothing at all–just the way I look at things. And that, I think, is worth more than anything I could ever ask for”.