The Sneaky People Who Stay In Our System
So I just finished reading the book, “One Day” by David Nicholls; a solid read about two people — Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley — who meet on July 15, 1988. The book then follows their journey for the next 20 years on that specific day, each chapter taking place a year to the day later. Sometimes they are apart and sometimes they are together.
I won’t get into what happens to the two of them, but for those who want to find out, read the book or wait for the movie which will come out sometime early Summer and stars Ann Hathaway as Emma.
What I will get into is how reading Emma and Dexter’s story made me think a lot about relationships we keep forever, though never planned to. The way some people sneak into our system and stay there for years.
Sometimes, I wonder what that’s all about, the people who remain in our hearts and minds no matter how far removed we are from them and the time we’ve spent with them. Emma and Dexter are not two people who fall in love with one another instantly. Heck, they don’t even think there is going to be a future with one another beyond the first night they shared. So year after year, when they find each other still around, or thinking about each other, they’re slightly taken aback.
For Emma and Dexter, things start off casual enough, with what is a planned one night stand. But sometimes, the relationships we share with someone don’t need to begin with such a bang (no pun intended). Like Dexter and Emma, we don’t need to be completely sprung on a moment’s notice for someone to stay in our lives. Meeting them was pleasant enough but no fireworks. We think, they’re just a friend and there they shall remain.
But what happens when there is struggle in that friendship, when we begin to feel as though this friend with whom we’re arguing is more trouble than they’re worth? We separate ourselves, in good mind that we have outgrown each other and the person we thought was a friend for life is only a friend for this brief time in our lives. We think, they’re not the person we’re going to marry, so why even bother?
I think the answers here differ for us all. We choose who we want in our lives and we choose who we want out of our lives. There are certain people who I felt were going to be around forever but when enough was enough, we said so and now we move on forever apart. Then there are those who I thought would be out of my life and still found a way to stay there, and those people are the most fascinating. I’m not talking about best friends, the people we’re closest to and with whom we have deep bonds and experiences.
I’m talking about people who are not our best friends, not our lovers, and not our family. They have no strings to our lives, but still, they’re here, right here. What is to come of these relationships and if they ever fall apart, how will that be?
In “One Day”, Emma and Dexter’s time together is like a roller coaster with ups and downs, twists and turns. But no matter how rough the ride, the two stay course, careful never to derail entirely from each others life. They submit themselves into becoming best friends with one another, and that’s what I found most fascinating, how though they never quite force themselves to stay together, but so diligently avoid staying apart. That’s kind of what I mean by the people who stay in our system.
I’m not talking about being on someone’s mind or in someone’s heart, I’m talking about being a part of someone’s being to the point where they stay with us without even thinking about. I have people like that in my life, and I’m old enough to be aware of them but young enough to wonder how did they get here and how long will they stay? These people, who lie somewhere between our closest friend and our most intimate lover, but are as essential to us as any friend or lover can be.