The truest stories are the most tedious to read. The non-uniqueness of each tiny problem. How everybody has said the same words at one point in their lives. No, we are not special, yet each unhappiness trickles down towards the organs in uncharacteristic ways. We must be something else, we’d say, and caress our egos with soft strokes. Now here we are, nothing else, and it has to become a story.
Once, there was a fox. He had red hair and wrinkled skin and a vivid imagination. In his daily life he had made some friends, but he was unsatisfied. Insatiable, maybe even. His friends were of the kind and generous variety. Fox was also kind, if a little unforgiving.
Fox attended a meet-up for fellow professionals and it was a blast. He worked the room and had a couple drinks. He sat next to a person he didn’t yet know, a handsome fella with bright eyes and a keen interest in small talk. “Well, look at us,” Fox thought, “I am going to ask for his number.”
The internet, that deep swamp of connectivity. Fox made his moves. The fella had a name and it was Dax. Like the hound. The moves were not well rehearsed but well-meant. Once, Fox wrote an email. One time he called to ask for a tea and coffee date. Fox had an open heart in those weeks and Dax listened intently to all the stories tumbling out of Fox. It was necessary. They were a good match.
They had settled into a comfortable routine, one would think. Into a solid friendship even, where you sometimes think of the the person and then proceed to write a postcard. Days went by and life was good. Maybe Fox sometimes had thoughts of that certain kind. Where he’d have given a leg for a touch to last a few seconds longer. But he was silent and stuck his hands deep, deep into his pockets.
It would have been easier if there had been a falling out. Something drastic, a bomb that goes off and after the stunned period at least you can pinpoint what happened. “Ah, the explosives” you could tell yourself, then look to see if the others had noticed it, too. And they would shake their heads wistfully and look at you in pity, signaling that yes, they had been there, too.
This is not what happened. There was only a growing darkness that spanned the distance between them. Dax’ words and actions drifted apart like lonely ice sheets. His words were warm as usual and full of promise. His physical absence, however, was what filled Fox’ daydreams and journal entries with a sense of dread and being lost. He was drifting, too. Dax had no time, he said, no opportunity to meet and all those long days and nights studying were a necessity. Fox wanted to believe with all his might and pressed his eyes shut hard until the vessel burst and it hurt just a tiny bit more than being neglected. Oh, the ego! And why won’t he like me anymore? The truth, they would say, is not that there was a falling out or an event that made life stop for a millisecond before shifting the clock and the round earthen globe a millimeter to the new. To the not-quite-the-same. The truth is just that your friendship means nothing to him now. There are so many things worse than being forgotten, Fox said, this does not matter. It is not unique, my unhappiness that trickles down my throat and lodges in my insides.