Familiar: A Triptych

There is a certain kind of friendship in which amity and indifference blur.

Rifts between individuals expand unobtrusively, a phenomenon only exacerbated by social media. You can’t remember if you heard updates from a friend over coffee or scrolled past their big news online.

Usually, you don’t even notice their absence until after a series of algorithms discards them from your feed — your life.

We remain oblivious to this drifting until it begets a chasm.

The more distant we’ve grown face-to-face, the more you’ve appeared in my dreams. The mental gymnastics that my mind performs to fill the void of our friendship should be medal-winning.

In these dreams (visions?), I watch you from afar. I never remember what you’re doing when I wake up: the netherworld between dreaming and waking moments engulfs these observations before they become memory.

As I stumble out of somnolence, there’s one moment that always sticks with me.

When we cross paths, we connect eyes. It feels like we’re two animals encircling the emptiness that stands between us. No one wants to make the first move to reconnect. No one dares betray signs of discomfort.

I am overcome by loneliness, but continue to circumambulate.

No matter how you feel — could your subconsciousness be sharing my dream? — neither of us will stray from the circumference we stride. I am painfully reminded of how today’s survival of the fittest prefers the people who can be least attached.

As the years pass, so too do my hopes of a better past: one in which our friendship lasted. Though bright in the beginning, not all can withstand the eroding forces of two separate lives. So it goes.

Thank you for the moments we shared: they were small, but colorful.

This piece was originally published in SLANT Issue 11.




iOS engineer, writer, and general glossophile. she/her.

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Alaina Kafkes

Alaina Kafkes

iOS engineer, writer, and general glossophile. she/her.

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