There are those times when you are trying to save something, even half of it, the connections you have with another person. Since humans are social creatures, you may start by using social constraints. If I see her every weekend or even just once on each Saturday, maybe things will get better. If we can tolerate each other for a few hours every other night, maybe he will still talk to me. There's got to be something we had that's worth saving, right? Something worth holding on to.

This sort of spiel is typically reserved for breakups, for exes and almosts, for the people who got left behind or the people who feel left behind and are therefore struggling to reserve something in themselves that is still attached to the other person, that is still floating around the other person's pockets like loose change. It's got to me one of the most painful things to feel, that void where something was. However, considering that people can logically only have so many exes, this is also what we do with friendships, those connections with other people that are not primarily based on physical contact or attraction but for whom is reserved the most amount of room in our hearts.

Some people are better at it than others. I am not one of those people. I have left a sizeable amount of people behind, unable to salvage much from any of them. Sometimes, it was the psychological circumstances that were no longer compatible between us that did it in. I was always growing out of something faster than the other person, be it low self-esteem (or precisely, wallowing in self pity), social ostracizing or introversion, drug addiction, rebellion, and at times, a combination of two or more (bad habits tend to overlap). That is not to say I my recovery from these things was in any way swift, just a little ahead of the person I shared them with, the people with whom I had them in common.

I have, to date, only been able to salvage a friendship from a budding romance and have it work out right. Sadly, I never got to see it played out in the long term, since he felt called back to his home state in New York. There has only been one friend that I had a falling out with that I have since tried to patch up our tattered commitments, and that is still very slow in coming. It may never, I've accepted, be what it was, or what I want it to be.

There are those lonely moments of regret, where I wish I could somehow draw time tight like a drawstring, reach out to them and find an inkling of the connection we once had. But then my over-analytical mind acts up, reminding me of all the differences that made us dissolve in the first place, compounded only with the time spent without contact, or attempts at such. You know that you can seldom go back. You can only move forward. As humans, we only walk straight out in front of us, and when we're required to do otherwise, we usually trip over our own feet. We keep expecting to fall.

It's easier to do with inanimate things like car parts or mechanisms; there are tests you can use to tell what is worth saving, ways that will almost always work. Not the same with people. We are like so much circuitry, and is hard to stop a chain reaction in an effort to stop certain reactions from repeating against our wishes. It's hard to hardwire someone to believe you this time, to trust you or to see any need to make the effort. Sometimes it's you that isn't willing to trust, and it's equally hard on both sides. I've been on both.

When asked whether or not he believed in heaven and hell, Mark Twain said, "I don't like to form an opinion. I have friends in both places." It is the same sometimes with salvaging people. You never can tell if you're better or worse off for your efforts. That with all the people out there in the world you could meet, you still cling to that which is already familiar. We are all guilty, pathetic creatures, which makes me question social or emotional evolution in our kind.

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