Thursday, August 15, 2013

plus one, to begin with

To be caught between two friends (of the "best" kind) of the same sex, when you are trying to be the most important person in the life of one of them is not very pleasant, and yet it is a source of supreme entertainment at the same time!

Of course for people like me, who detest change of any kind in their preferences (which exist not because they are the best of the lot, but because they are the only samples ever tried, tested and approved), inviting an overlap between the romantic and the social is the very first hurdle. I have always, and I cannot in good conscience say "thankfully", maintained a huge, gaping fissure in between love and friendship in general. Any attempt at crossing over would result in a painless virtual jump off a cliff into the depths of that fissure of ignorance about the other side. In retrospect, I would perhaps allow my friends (or very close acquaintances, if there is any such thing), to know about my romantic liaisons, if they displayed a lower amount of interest in it, and had no intention of being unpaid spokespersons for communicating sordid details for their own close acquaintances! Vicious web, this is - more vicious than the menacing food-web (or was it food chain?) diagram with the scary carnivore at the top.

There have been negative consequences of this mental block I have admittedly suffered from. Throughout my adult life (which is not very long, if you consider the legal definition of adulthood, and non-existent if you consider the real), I have watched, awestruck, the very cool, hep couples, parting ways and being on such great terms despite that. It is almost like a new 21st century concept of the magical "happily ever after" we all aspire to. Yet, that has never happened for me. I do not regret the parting ways bit at all, but beyond that, words like "no hard feelings" and "going back to being friends" forever eluded me. Initially I thought it was due to the sheer lack of charm and coolness (not in me, of course), but later I formulated this very simple explanation that had been staring me in the face all this while - the fissure of detachment that I had put so carefully in place. With no friendly crowd around, there is no glue left to bind two people together (irrespective of coolness) once their romance departs.

And now, after two solid paragraphs of essential digression, revisiting the introductory thought seems pertinent. To remedy the rudimentary flaw I just discussed, I made the fissure a little less wide, so that a long jump would suffice, if one really wanted to cross over, and along came the best friend. I am not entirely sure about who jumped where, or whether the three of us sometimes end up in the depths while trying to reach one another, but either way, it has been rather, er, entertaining, as I said. When you are the newest addition to the group, you begin by denying that there is, indeed, a group. Do not get me wrong, the romantic pair is always untouched, unscathed and private, but hovering around the thin line of privacy there is the friend with whom you initially have this mental, and possibly very one-sided, sense of competition as far as control goes. Put the situation in a kettle, light a fire under it, and watch it boil into bubbles of disaster. You think the man in question is your very own object (thankfully traditional and acceptable norms of relationships still gives the lady love, no matter how new she is, an upper-hand as far as ownership is concerned), but then you realize the man's thin line and your thin line are yards apart, and you have been viewing them as one. The friend, being familiar with his line of course, hovers around that while you pace your own flawed boundaries with half a smirk and half a grimace. Why is the smirk there, you may ask. Well for me it signifies resignation, to some extent, but most importantly, it is me saying "I know you know that I know what you did, and what sort of an equation can come out of that". So when your man, the attractive irresistible soul you think you are close to knowing inside out, has a fight (the cold, hence the worst, kind), with his best friend (or whatever the hell they call the relationship. I never really had a best friend of either sex, what do I know?), and you humour yourself thinking you are a part of it, beware my friend! You ARE a part of it, only in your head.

Sometimes friends of the same sex create their own fissure, and one fine morning you realize you are the one who tried to jump and fell down. He certainly will drag you out once their exchange is done, and you shall see and hear the whole thing too, eventually. But to be part of it? Well you can never be, in essence! But be thankful you get to see a very unfamiliar kind of love lingering in the air as you watch their antics...and there lies your entertainment in the midst of occasional vexation.

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