two people

I've been thinking a bit lately about the connections people make with one another. Two strangers, for example, meet and become close. They share a lot and grow to care immeasurably for one another. They take a kind of journey together. Sometimes a long one, sometimes a short one, sometimes a never-ending one. Or to put it another way, each person shares part of the other person's journey.

My first relationship was a very serious one, and very long one. When we came to the end of our time together, we went in wildly different directions: he chose tradition, family and stability, and I chose personal exploration, career progression and, for lack of a better word, creativity. In the immediate aftermath of the relationship I was struck by how incredibly strange this was. For so many years we were travelling down the same path, and sharing that journey, and then this fork in the road seemed to appear out of nowhere, and sent us in completely opposite directions. I'm sure there is a lot that could be read into that situation, but I'm not going to attempt to analyse potential mistakes made or judge my younger self for her decisions. I now look back at that as a very simple situation: we took one another as far as we possibly could; at a certain point, we could accompany one another no further. Our paths just went in different directions.

I think this basic principle is applicable to many relationships - and to their beginnings and their endings. Sometimes, as is the case with the relationship I just referred to, the two paths end up being so far apart that they simply don't intersect in any way anymore, and so the two people leave each other's lives absolutely, and often for good. Is that a good thing? I don't know. Perhaps in some way it is - though I don't doubt that such judgement could only be made on a case-by-case basis. On the other hand, sometimes the paths - while diverging - remain in the general vicinity of each other, and so the two people remain in each other's lives in some other way.

My sister's path aligned with Hugh's for a while last year. Because I live in another state, I didn't spend a lot of time around the two of them - though I did spend a week in Darwin while they were seeing one another. They got along really well for the most part, but they also bickered a lot. They seemed to get on each other's nerves. Despite this, they were tremendously comfortable with one another, like they had known each other for many years (and perhaps this also explains the bickering). I think the second photo shows that comfort and lovely familiarity. The first photo, which shows them sharing a beer over a game of chess, shows the friendship - or perhaps mateship is an even more suitable word - that they had.

In my opinion, they weren't right for one another. It seemed like it was often a rocky road that they were on. But they did see one another through a small period in their respective lives, and I have no doubt that that was largely positive for both of them, in the broader scheme of their lives. Lately, Hugh has shown up in my sister's life again in a different form: helping her out while she goes through a bit of a tough time. They remain in each other's lives as friends, which is a really lovely thing.

After they broke up earlier this year, I was reluctant to post these two gorgeous photos because I thought it might be painful for my sister. But in light of the way things have panned out, I think it's a great lesson that can only be positive: people come in and out of your life, and their role in your life changes, but different doesn't mean bad. And sometimes - maybe even most of the time - different works out pretty well.

1 comment:

  1. Really lovely, Greta - the photos and the narrative. -Shasta