Paradox of a Stranger


I’ve always been oddly fascinated by the fact that there are people in the world I’ve never met, strangers, who could easily mean so much to someone.

You know the ones, sitting idly opposite of you in the library, while you’re reading that book you bought but never got around to until now. Maybe it’s that well-put-together looking guy that shot you a dimpled grin while walking past you on the sidewalk. Perhaps it’s a cute barista whose eyes met yours for just a moment too long.

We’ve all ran into strangers who could easily be the infamously elusive and under-studied soulmate type.

You saw his selfie rack up 57 likes one time online, and from there you assumed his parents lived on a small property in the city somewhere. That he’s probably an artist who loves horror cinema and Tumblr. He probably has a good sized family and he might be looking for a pretty little person to settle down with- someone just like you (insert game-show cheering).

Maybe.

Sure, in reality you know nothing about him other than the fact that he’s got great music taste and is a major geek. That he looks like the kind of person you could travel the universe with *Heavy sigh*. But it doesn’t matter. In that moment, he’s everything you didn’t know you wanted. But just as quick as the tides of life bring him in, they pull him back out.

Any emotionally stable human would let out a defeated sigh and return to their lives as mature, responsible adults.

I am not one of those creatures.

Most people underestimate the significance of a moment. The paradox of a moment is that an instant in time can be more significant than the sum of all moments up until then. Perhaps this is the root of my problem: a romanticism for the speed at which life can change and the desire for it to do so.

It’s as soothing as it is frustrating. It is the ability to consciously shift our scorned affections onto the mere projection of a person: someone who can’t let you down, someone who can’t hurt you.

This casual determinism is my way of rebelling against the fatalistic views of love instilled in us from birth. Does popular culture not force-feed us the belief that love is a divine destination predetermined for a mere lucky few?

For once in my life, I met a stranger who wasn’t so strange. Together we could be fearless conquerors of the world and each other. But eternity can come and pass in any moment, with entire lifetimes spanning within each.

There is an inexplicable kind of bliss in the metamorphosis of friends from strangers. And I will never understand.

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