I understand where you’re coming from, I just can’t see her perspective, one of my closest friends says. We’re talking over text message, my most despised form of communication but one I’ve succumbed to in this race to the finish of increasingly speedy and impossibly small technologies. S. and I are in the initial effort stages (again) of being friends. She doesn’t even like the word friend, S. doesn’t, but she’s trying to be such a thing with me. Who knows how paradoxes like that work themselves out. The history of us and surrounding casualties is relatively long and mostly boring to anyone but us. We were kids, really. Kids in a dramatic friendship, trying to act like adults and failing miserably. We were dealing with things that folks twice our age hardly ever have to touch with rubber gloves and a breathing mask. None of it was easy; much of it caused division. But years have passed since all of that and S. and I are doing what we think is alright.
Help me understand, S. says. I mean, she texts. There’s always more to the story. This more is a gal who I’ve been driving around the Midwest with this week. C. and I are visiting friends, too many names to keep in short order. C. and I, we’re friends of the close variety, but we’ve lost a thing or twelve along the way. There’s a lot of love and a tourist map full of points of interest, but a big Jesus-sized piece missing between us. We’ll talk pop media until our tongues are numb and we’ve twice almost lost the dice to the game we’re playing as a tool for our fidgety hands, but the thing we used to have in common, the only thing that’s sure, is on the rocks, and we both know. Don’t misunderstand, even with our piece-less puzzle, C. and I are on this trip because of love.
And the story goes on. S. wants to know C. (again), years after the wreckage. And the pulse of that heartbeat beats the other way, too. She’s trying to find somewhere to put her brick in this bridge we’re building across the chasm between us all. It’ll take more than a text message, more than the simple one-syllable words that fit on this screen, to craft a new kind of trust that will right things overturned and heal things once all sliced up. S. knows this about text messages, but she sends them still, slow to call. The past is a thing C. grips tightly, remembers when. S. knows this, too, forgets.
After a handful of minutes, messages, and having created a melody of button-clicking in my own ear from my qwerty keyboard, I remember that I can’t build these bridges in radio waves and cell phone signals so I sign off with everything all unresolved. With yet two friends, but with a chasm still between us all.