To People I Used To Know (first letter)

Dear Folks,
The city I live in is small. It’s not even a city really. The people here are too familiar, as if I’ve known them personally. It’s like we’ve been intimately involved with something, somewhere together, but can’t remember what it was or who we really are. Circumstances, names and experiences seem instantly erased.
The bookstore clerk, a woman I keep seeing in thriftshops, that sunburnt alcoholic at the bus stop, countless others I keep mistaking for past co-workers, students, friends of friends — they circulate constantly. A sense of imminent greeting repeats in the absence of real connections.
It’s different for us though. We really did know each other once.
Maybe we’ll cross paths again, on the streets we used to walk down while in touch. We could be moving through the same spaces right now, intentionally ignoring each other.
We can remind one another of an insurmountable divide — an unbridgeable gap between our memories (the stories we tell ourselves) and an objective reality concerning the entirety of our lived experience.┬áIt’s no wonder we have a hard time saying hello to each other.
When I bump into one of you now, I feel as though I’m falling very slowly through numerous lifetimes. Constellations of relation hover just beyond us, full of incredible complexity and mystery — absolutely unknowable — and yet we’re a part of them all.
It’s perhaps too much to acknowledge and express, let alone understand. One summer might contain centuries. A day can take on years. A brief moment becomes infinite. We pretend to let each other go.