Just plug them in and they become who you want them to be.
I don't know where to find these modular people, the kind where you pull one off the shelf and they will fill the role left by someone who is gone. People are so complex and yet so simple. Every fiber of who they are adds up to something and makes them different from anyone else. If people were modular, we could move on without any trouble. If Bill leaves, then Bob takes his place. It doesn't work. Bob will never be Bill.
I once knew a girl named Christina. She is no longer with us. When I was with her she talked at length about a man she loved. His name was Bill. I told her that I was there for her, that I wanted to be with her, and that I would not desert her. Bill had broken her heart and ripped her in two, but still she longed for him. There was something about him that meant something to her and no one else could ever be Bill.
Bill never called. Bill didn't come to Christina's funeral. While standing next to her body in a coffin at the wake, I overheard her mother talking about how Christina never got over Bill and how much she hated Bill for doing what he did to her daughter. I could not be Bill, but I was there because it was part of who I am. To her I meant something. I was Keith. I was not replaceable, but I played a different role.
We all play a certain role and sometimes we try to turn those roles into something else. I thought about this tonight as I obtained yet another phone number for The Muse, the great love of my life. I need to explain to her that I screwed everything up by trying to change us into something we were never meant to be. She cannot be replaced. Her role cannot be filled by another. Christina's role cannot be filled by another. Your role in my life cannot be filled by another. We are not modular. We are alive and we are valuable to one another.