I'm always making friends at work and losing them. It's a process, like a chunk of life shaped like a rotating drum, with new friends rolling up as the old ones vanish underneath. I've made friends... good friends, the best friends I've ever had. And then they go away, and I never see them again. They're all gone. They've all passed through my life over the past seven years like a story that wrote itself as it rolled across a cylindrical platen, and then disappeared when the paper ran out. A phenomenon of fluctuating friendships.
Now there's Jennifer. We talk a lot about everything, stuff that neither one of us would probably ever tell anyone else.. I don't know where she finds that trust in me. A couple of months ago I was walking down Hickory toward all of the bars on Fry Street. I had my nose down in a book, as usual, so I didn't see the shape that was barreling toward me until the last minute. It was Jennifer. She'd been hanging out at one of the bars and had spotted me as I approached, and before I knew it, I was on the receiving end of a full speed tackle hug. I don't know if I've ever been tackle hugged before, but that kind of thing elicits a feeling which is sort of indescribable. The feeling you get when you're accepted, and liked, and included in someone's list of things that matter. That somebody is really aware of you. It felt like... instant joy, maybe?
Then there are the ones that are gone. Olivia told me that she loved me more times than I can remember, and I have no idea why. She's gone now... where to, and doing what, I have no idea. Matt was always trying to get me to hit the bars with him. A few times I did, and I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have a good bud to share drinks with and talk with, the way guys talk to one another, but he's been gone for almost a year now. I saw him a week ago before he left for North Dakota, of all places. He gave me a hug and said goodbye, and I almost got choked up. Brittney helped me so much when I first got back from Alaska and was just a complete wreck with a broken heart. And Leah... Leah's gone. I'm still somewhat discombobulated about that. I haven't seen her or spoken to her since October of 2011, since she up and left, to go live at a monastery. Can you believe that? It's like something out of a badly written movie. How the heck does that happen in real life? Man falls in love. Woman leaves man. Man howls ceaselessly in anguish. Woman runs away to monastery in order to escape the noise. That actually, really happened, and now this person who was once my best friend - the center of my life, around which all of my thoughts and actions revolved - this woman who I was in love with, who I still love as much as I ever did, now is just somebody that I used to know a few years ago. It's a hard concept to grasp, that a thing such as this can actually happen in real life, to real people. It's just... incredible.
These people have all consistently brought me into their trusting folds, and I'm always kind of flabbergasted that they do. They've all, every one of them, reached out with emotional bonding irons to forge a connection between us that always hurts when the time inevitably comes to wrench it loose. Jennifer will leave eventually, too. I wonder who will be next? I wonder if my emotions will eventually break from all the cracks, like metal fatigue, that have formed as a result of so many connections having been made and broken, made and broken, made and broken, made and broken, made and broken... again and again and again.