Isla Vista culture has definitely taught me a unique lesson:
You know what’s overrated? Larger than life, drawn-out romances. It is the product of way too many novels, movies, Broadway productions and adolescent dreams. In the interest of being alternative, let us draw attention to all the mini, short-lived romances.
The solid one-minute eye contact you hold with the drummer of the local band you watched perform in the garage of some house on Sueno. The strangely engaging conversation you hold with the bagger at the Co-op. The knowing glance you share with the guy next to you in class. Some of these connections are so real and so powerful and they last just a second before they slip away.
Then there are those people that you meet accidentally on the street, at a party, at a meeting. Those people that you form an instant bond with. There is talking, listening, understanding. And yet all of these instances are doomed to die in the same space they came into being. A sequence of a million romances stuck between rebirth and death.
You can talk to someone for five hours straight, both emptying yourselves out, only to have to find a way to refill yourself again on the sixth hour because it’s over.
I used to be in awe of how two people could just abandon possibility. How they could ignite a fire and then just walk away with only small burns around the edges.
But I have come to realize that maybe it is better this way. For in moments of such connection, there is no slow trickling of knowledge and information being transferred between people, rather it is all of you hitting all of them all at once. Two entities colliding. It’s powerful, it’s deadly and, thus, it is short lived.
How can you take all that passion and force and try to forge a second encounter? You can’t. And maybe you shouldn’t want to. Maybe you shouldn’t wonder how something so real could just cease to be. Because the disappearing act that these romances play on us is what keeps the magic alive.
There is nothing to ruin it. Just momentary magic, wonder, connection, mystery, allure — all taken away by the night. That’s the selfish thing about nighttime. It gives as much as it takes. How else can it maintain its mystery and allow you to keep setting fires within others?
Two entities colliding. It’s powerful, it’s deadly and, thus, it is short lived
And with every night comes the possibility of being able to see how your fire burns differently within each temporary soulmate. They provide you with just enough hope and reminder that there are still things that are real and true and intense. That you aren’t always operating on a frequency that is unreachable, you just have to find the right spark.
It doesn’t always matter the origin of the spark, just that there is something that can reach within you and make you feel.
So do not mourn your almost-lover. Let him go gentle into that good night. You were made better by his entrance, but you will not be made worse by his exit.
Anjalie Tandon hopes we welcome each fleeting interaction.