My good friend Kelly lives on Downtown Avenue. One block away lives my lovely first cousin Erica.
The two have never met.
Several weeks ago, I finally realized this, and it struck me as weird. Kelly’s cousin is my good friend Mary, and Mary and Erica have worked for the same office, so know each other.
I checked with Kelly. Erica’s name is not familiar to her.
It’s also weird since I learned just a few days ago that Erica’s brother Kevin, also my first cousin in that weird way genetics works, used to be the supervisor of my good friends Michael and Akeya, who are married to each other. As a teen, Akeya was Kelly’s babysitter, and they remain good friends to this day.
Yes, the same Kelly, who still lives on Downtown Avenue, still in the same house that is still one block away from my cousin Erica.
I just checked with Erica. She thinks she saw Kelly once as she was walking by Kelly’s house, but she couldn’t say for sure. Erica doesn’t recognize Kelly’s name.
I don’t like this development, because I don’t like missing links. I hate getting to the end of a jigsaw puzzle and finding one piece missing. If I like a particular jigsaw, I buy the others in that series.
I bought the Alice Cooper box set of four CD’s because it had two songs on it that I had never heard.
And with this series of Six Degrees-like connections between Kelly and Erica, I feel like I’m on the edge of discovery. I’m about to find some new meaning to life, completing some deep, dark, hidden clue to my existence.
And it’s all come apart because the last piece is missing, the one where Kelly and Erica walk their dogs at the exact same time and stop to talk.
Should this missing link really surprise me, though? This town is not small. I have to make a conscious effort to pick up a phone or send an email to a particular someone if I want to know how that person is, because I can’t depend on running into her at the store, even if I stand at the doors every single day for a week.
At the same time, it’s not huge. It’s not a bustling city where I could stand around the doors of the supermarket for a week and see no one I recognize.
How many times have Erica and Kelly been at the store at the same time, maybe even passing each other in the bread isle, and not know how interconnected their lives really are?
How many times have they followed one another home from work, arriving at their front doors at practically the same time, not turning their heads to see the other?
How much longer will I ponder these coincidences, and try to find meaning to life, and wonder at the circles and paths that one must travel to find their true selves, and all that jazz, before I get off my lazy butt, go out to their street, and introduce them?
I’m sure they’ll have a lot to talk about.