Renewing Acquaintances

If ever you’ve had an acquaintance in the past which though fervent at the time eventually dwindled into nothing, you may be tempted to renew it. I am not suggesting that you write a sequel to the event, just a step into the past for the sake of interest, catching up as it were. Whether the temptation is serendipitous or by design, it is a high-risk business. Primarily the risk is that what you recall is greatly removed from what now exists. Cold water doesn’t begin the describe the sensation. Alarm and disillusionment may be the unwelcome and unanticipated results. Even if the the ramifications are not ill-fated there is also the gamble that you’ll entirely forfeit all those cherished memories some of which may even have strengthened with the effluxion of time. Nonetheless if the initial zeal were genuine it is hardly dishonest to reawaken the once heartfelt enthusiasm. Besides every good love story contains an element of intrigue.

Turning back the clock – offensive as it is to both logic and nature – is for most people generally unexplored territory. Special forensic talents are required and mastery of the effects of time demands exceptional philosophical resource (essentially the avid use of charitable rationalization). It would of course be injudicious at best to imagine that the evolution of the atomic world has not wrought its metamorphosis upon all that once was. Knowing this one must be alert to the original motivations of the acquaintance. It is exoteric that youthful romantic ardour is an unreliable thermometer of commitment clouded as it no doubt was by erstwhile elemental urges. If however you can get over that provocative hump there may well have been a more profound nexus between you two and perhaps that constitutional strain can be rediscovered in the relationship.

As odd as it may sound, when it comes to people to whom we were once attracted, we often fail to take into account that in spite of the lapse of decades they may have actually had other relationships and involvements. Strangely they did not remain inert upon the dissolution of the former connection. Becoming alive to this redundancy can astonishingly spark a degree of jealousy or may at least be off-putting in spite of its illegitimacy. Such a reaction makes as much sense as suffering disappointment when attempting to fit into a dusty tuxedo that fit you twenty years ago – not going to happen! – as marvellous as it may have once appeared. What is more likely than not is that the other person has moved on to a more complicated relationship and one which is bound by years of experience and interdependence. Throwing yourself unprepared into that web may have some sticky consequences!

There is also the fundamental threat that the co-conspirator no longer harbours the same cheerful view of the former liaison. As improbable as we may imagine it to be, people are not always as captivated by us as we might prefer to believe. For this reason alone one should be cautious when reigniting the flame to portray the semblance of mere dalliance lest the perceived motivation precipitates immediate and unrequited rebuttal. Such a casual approach to the affair enables you to extricate yourself with limited exposure not to mention the avoidance of total embarrassment.

Even if you manage to make it through all those obstacles the proof of your determination lies in the reception of that hackneyed line, “You must come and visit” failing which you have hit a dead end. All the prior assurances about how wonderful it was to hear from you are for naught if those follow-up words are missing. Indeed their omission is the height of social rejection. It is an austere conclusion to a hapless adventure.

In the end you may consider it best to ignore the urge to relive the past in any respect. Why tarnish the glow? Why risk translating the experience from memorable to forgettable? Why magnify to the point of harshness the disparities that initially caused the separation? Why suffer the sanctity of your memories to follow the same course of erosion as the rest of you (remember, you’ve changed too)? Renewing acquaintances is a treacherous path and perhaps even unnatural. To fly in the face of the ordinary course of things is not only uncommon but also laboured. It may be best to wall your eyes and sigh, a private reminiscence of no consequence.