On Distance

Basel, Switzerland, 2015.

Basel, Switzerland, 2015.


Have you ever missed someone so much, it hurts?

The way the longing begins to bud, from the deepest, richest land of your heart, growing to fill the empty space within your being, and then slowly, but surely, permeating each and every single cell to create an ache that could be felt even in your bones, regardless of whether you move, or lay still. It lurks within – dangerously dormant – without giving any form of indication as to when it might explode, or implode, despite every moment holding seemingly equal probability of the very occurrence.

The very fact that you are a walking time bomb that might be detonated by any otherwise ordinary object or thought evoking a particular memory or shared experience at any point in time causes a fear to well up in your heart, pressing against the weighted longing that has since taken captive of your soul. It is a fear of the variety that is difficult, although not entirely impossible, to assuage, for it is one that is deeply rooted in the origins of human relationships.

In Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes had declared that we had all been hermaphrodites once, before being severed into two, thereafter roaming the Earth asunder. Within us therefore lies an innate desire to seek out our other halves, now whole, to whom we had once belonged. We long to find the one whose soul is made of the same matter as our own. Trusting in our visceral instincts, we travel, we adventure, and finally, our search seems to have come to a joyous end.

And yet. The distance, the perilous distance, of which you have no inkling, at least not in present moment, as to whether it would eventually be surmounted, and when, mercilessly punctuates your days. But what else could you do, but wait?

– Agnes Chew


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