Brief

I thought at first that this was something that I only experienced when traveling. The brief, intimate encounter where I meet someone new and immediately become close friends with them, knowing that the friendship would last for only minutes, or hours, or if I'm lucky, a few days.

I do this a lot. I think I do it well. I've traveled the country, the world, and the internet, and I've found my soulmate dozens of times in a dozen different people that only knew me over the course of a dozen conversations.

To sit at a table, eating strange foreign pizza, and have a woman sit down next to you, ecstatic to have a dinner companion that knows English. She's another traveler, and she has a warm, loving aura about her. There's a sense of desperation in the small talk. You go to pay the bill and she's not there anymore.

You get caught up in a conversation with a drunk and depressed man at a bar. You don't know him, and you won't remember him in a week, but for one night, you two are best friends.

I think I've figured out why I'm so drawn to this. I've finally found the middle ground between wanting to be social and extroverted and wanting to torture myself to death. I lose a best friend every day, and suffer irrational heartbreak from making a stranger happy. And I'm good enough at making friends and making strangers happy that this can be my secret outlet. If I were hidden away somewhere, brooding and bleeding, people would get weirded out and try to get in my way. If I were introverted and cynical, people would get weirded out and try to get in my way. But the fatigued, sleep-deprived, self-destructive, post-traumatic-stress-disordered machinations in my mind allow me to tear myself apart from the inside and not be unsettling on the outside.

I hope, anyway.