It had been the beginning of a friendship, cut short by circumstance and distance. They had drunk beer and talked about life, politics, anything and everything, and eventually what had brought them together in the first place. It had been a true conversation: a letting down of the defenses and barriers he had held up so long he hardly felt them anymore, except for that passing numbness when he smiled and told someone, “I’m fine”.
As quickly as their paths converged, they had diverged. One bound for one city, the other traveling to another. One to remain on this coast, the other to soon depart for the other side of the country. And there was always the internet, always a message or an email. But the internet was a half life, a twilight that would always pale in comparison to a smile, a handshake, a hug. It wasn’t all bad, and it certainly wasn’t meaningless - sometimes a half life was all you had, and sometimes you needed a half life to carry you until you found a full life for yourself. But a half life was a half life, either way.
Still, he thought, as the train pulled him away from their brief intersection, sometimes it was enough to know that a friend was out there, living their own life under the same sky. Rooting for you, if from a distance. And sometimes that taste of a full life, that spark of light that flares and then dies away, shows you just how dim the life you’ve been living has been. Maybe that fleeting flare would be enough to make him rally his courage and redouble his efforts to create that full life, a world away. He hoped it would be enough. It had to be enough. It would be enough.