It's true to say that the way we conduct many of our relationships these days has changed beyond all recognition. Lots of us can say in all honesty that some of the best friends we have are people we've never met face-to-face, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and on-line communication. For some people, that's gone several steps further - it's no longer unusual to hear of couples whose relationships blossomed after they met through some kind of on-line social network.
It's not just applicable to new relationships, either. While we can (and I bet many of us have!) 'google' names from our past and see what they're up to these days, these social networking sites have made it possible for us to go another step beyond 'just looking' and allow us to actually rekindle old friendships. At one time, you'd have thought the whole world had nothing better to do than revisit its schooldays, with what seemed like thousands of us arranging school reunions right, left and centre. Of course, there were many different kinds of relationships in the school playground, weren't there? It could run the whole gamut from our Best Female Friends, to first kisses behind the bike sheds with the captain of the school football team! How many of those relationships would we genuinely want to re-kindle? I've lost count of the number of short stories I've read based on the whole idea of 'Friends Reunited,' not to say non-fiction articles on 'What Happened When I Re-United With XYZ,' and sure, many of them had happy outcomes, but just as many had somewhat mixed results.
Lets' face it, it sometimes seems that anyone and everyone's out there to be found in Google-Land - if they want to be. So little remains private. You can open your Facebook page and find yourself right in the middle of other people's conversations, as well as your own. Sometimes this delving into our past relationships, maybe with a pair of rose-coloured glasses wedged firmly on the bridges of our noses, hasn't always led to happiness. For me, and I know I'm not alone in this, the thought of a school reunion would be the equivalent of a jaunt into Dante's third circle of hell - no, thank you! Many of us see no point in resurrecting relationships that we left behind many years ago. We may remember past friends or girlfriends and boyfriends fondly, but have chosen not to know them now. Perhaps what's past is best left in the past, and simply put down to experience. While there will always be that special place in the heart for a person and the time we had with them, we leave it behind and we move on. Life's like that. Trust in your decision.
A number of years ago, a friend of mine was living and working in a city far away from her home, and during her time there, had a summer-long romance with a truly lovely guy. They were both madly busy people - she was building up a career CV and knew she'd be returning to her home city when summer was over, and the guy she'd met was in a similar situation, about to travel abroad with work. At the end of the summer, rather than trying to keep their relationship alive despite long distances between them and the extra pressures of their busy careers, they decided to do the mature thing, to end the relationship with no regrets and no long goodbyes. Each of them thought it was for the best. Put it down to experience, and just remember the good times.
My friend's career really took off. She travelled the world, met all kinds of amazing people and had some extraordinary experiences. But she never forgot the guy she'd met that summer, always holding that special place in the heart just for him. She was the kind never to look back, never to regret, and what amazed me more than anything, she never gave in to the temptation to 'google' him and see what had happened to him. They'd made the agreement to move on, and she honoured that.
The one day, something astonishing happened. She was in London, a lunchtime meeting with some business colleagues in a busy city-centre hotel, when she had that funny feeling you get when you know someone's looking at you. She turned around - and there he was at another table in the same hotel restaurant, the same guy she'd spent a wonderful summer with. Neither of them lived in London, but were both just visiting. The odds of them meeting again like that must have been a million to one, and yet, it happened. Despite the way technology has shrunk the world, they way it seems you can find anyone, any time, anywhere, it was fate, or life, or the power of love that pulled them back together and they've never looked back. Ten years and two children down the line, they've never looked back!
I loved that story, and it inspired my own version, Edinburgh Fog, which I set in a favourite bar of mine in my old home city. Names were changed to protect the innocent, of course! But it's basically the story of my friend and the love of her life, and the way they'd kept that special place in the heart for each other.
Life's like that. Trust in it. What's meant to be, will be. There are always places in the heart for the real loves of your life, and no amount of googling will ever change that.
Finally - I'd planned to end this post with one of the best songs about lost relationships, Thin Lizzy's Still In Love With You, then I heard the sad news that one of their former guitarists, the legendary Gary Moore, died this morning. It seems only right to share his version of that wonderful song with you. Enjoy.
Edinburgh Fog will released by Muse It Up in September 2011. CLICK HERE to find out more.