On People We Used To Know


A long time ago a friend in Hawaii sent me a note that asked- can you betray another in order to be true to yourself? I hadn’t at the time a true grasp on what this meant. Only that from the outside I clearly was not being true to myself, so obvious was my behavior that I had become blind to it. We often have to leave people and places in order to get right by ourselves.

A long time ago her and I drove south through Utah from Idaho to California and it felt to me like I was holding my breath the entire drive. I can see it now from a great distance as the drive in which I made one of the most important choices of my life, or perhaps the choice was already made for me. In Utah I kept on saying, I’ll leave it here, I’ll leave it in Utah. But we usually, and almost always, follow ourselves home.

I have become interested lately in how we cleave ourselves from one another, build moats so deep they become oceans and our ships passing in the night exchange nothing. He had changed so little and yet, it seemed unfathomable to me that we had ever once shared a room, a planet, a world unto ourselves. People we are closest to often become the most difficult of strangers. As if the closer you are the farther you can be flung. Our space and distance is only comparative to our once extreme closeness.

It seems as if something in the air has pressed people, has pressed you, to cut ties as of late. We drift far enough and the orbit is reassigned. I understand the point, I read the physics. I might not say it, but I know why.

And it might have come all the way back around, to the ice landscape and the cold road and the drive that started before the sun came up in Utah. All of the things I couldn’t leave in Utah, all of the ways my life change course because of it. We are always betraying ourselves or someone else, the choice is never a choice, but rather something made for us by actions we didn’t know at the time were choices at all. We set everything into motion before we even mean to.

And perhaps, so long ago she wasn’t even asking about me, but rather laying a seed so I might understand now how we pull away from one another. That it is not you betraying me, but rather you being true to yourself. A circumstance of a circumstance, and you are somewhere in the midwest.

It seems strange to me that the people we used to know so well are now so far away, that no one holds on and that we all fall out of orbit. I did not know this was true before, and my father tells me we keep on learning all the way until the end. I had not expected this, and yet it is exactly what I expected.


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