She sat there, right in front of him, quietly ignoring his very presence. There’s a sacred wall between them that he knows too well not to trespass: a fragile wall made of music and silence, an unbreakable barrier consisting of indifference and disinterest.
He longed to touch her, just to get her attention. Or maybe just grab and smash those obnoxious earphones: a God-sent device that allows us sweet solitude, a devilish contraption that wrongfully isolates people.
Space: that formless, boundless commodity of our over-populated, hyper-connected world. How often have we longed for it, yet how often have we cursed it. Because even as we wish for some time alone, we find ourselves annoyed standing on the other side of this man-made gap. A fracture that no technology could address, a crevice that no science could fully explore, a trench that one can’t simply refill and terraform.
For what truly separates us from one another aren’t the nautical miles nor mountain ranges, but that immeasurable sense of being not near, of being not here.
Yes, these are the distances that you can’t measure in miles, gaps that simply can’t be bridged or jumped over. And like a missing tooth, the nagging feeling doesn’t go away easily— because there’s a forgotten space inside that continually reminds us of what is missed and missing.
How often has it happened to you— talking with someone, but knowing full well that your words aren’t reaching their heart, let alone their ears? How often have you been frustrated by it: standing next to someone, trying to let your presence be felt, ready to give them your full attention, waiting and even hoping that they’ll eventually get tired and bored with whoever they are texting or calling or even talking on the other side opposite you.
And that momentary panic that you sort of realize, or maybe imagine, that they are drifting away— and you’re driven to react in fear, afraid that whatever’s left of what you had will soon be gone, totally. Which, of course, only push them further away, farther from the reach of your desperate hands and your frantic voice.
She sits there, just across the table, humming gently to an unknown song she’s enjoying. You wanted to listen to it, too— not because you’re a fellow fan, but for some hint of re-connection. And you sit there, timidly sneaking peeks at her once in a while, daydreaming that she’d suddenly pull down her earphones and blurt out your name, gasping for your old conversations.
But right now, she’s across that gap you’re not allowed to cross. Right now, he’s behind the locked doors of his imaginary palace. Right now, you’re staying away from everyone.
But don’t mind the gap.
Because one day, she will stand at the edge and call for you to throw her a sandwich. Because someday, he will peer out the windows of his tower and let down his golden hair. Because today, you just need that gap— a climactic suspense for you to hold your breath in ecstatic expectation, preparing you as one would know before that sheer drop on a roller coaster ride. It will be a fun day, a joyful day, then you’ll realize that each gap were never empty experiences: those are the commas, the periods, the parentheses, the chapter breaks in the story of your life.
So don’t mind the gap. Not all distances are meant to be travelled; some journeys just need time for people to find each other again.