A Brief Address to Former Strangers

One of the strangest feelings is looking back on the period of your life before you knew your current friends or lovers, while keeping in mind that they were still around out there. Before I knew any of you, we were each going about our own independent lives completely unaware of each other’s existence.

Then all of a sudden, on some fateful day, our lives intersected. Your presence became known, and our lives were no longer totally separate. From my perspective, your history doesn’t begin until I meet you.

Furthermore, you were a very different person before I got to know you, and visa versa: with time, I began to forget what it was like not to know or love you; it starts to feel like you were always there in my life. Even if we lose touch, our lives will remain irreversibly influenced or impacted in some way. You’ll be a part of my narrative in some way or another until my story ends (and visa versa).

I wonder what other former strangers will enter my life. People I could never conceive may some day spontaneously cross paths and become acquaintances, colleagues, friends, lovers, and maybe even enemies. It is both exciting and, given my recurring social anxiety, a bit scary at the same time.

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