A lonely distance – 孤独的距离 – English

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Maybe a short-term separation could lead to a sense of “beauty created by distance”, but a long-term one is destined to let the beauty evaporate. We have to admit the fact that physical distance would undoubtedly bring about a sense of emotional distance. This is true for friends, and even so for families, with no exception.

In the blink of an eye, I have been away from homeland for almost three years. From the first step on this alien land, to building relationships gradually, sharing experiences together, after graduation, when they mostly returned to their own home country, following their own paths, we barely had any contact, as time passed. Despite the advances in technology, the conveniences of WeChat, after all, it is difficult to span the geographical gap. When I occasionally muster up courage to contact used-to-be classmates and close friends, conversations came to an end shortly, after some brief exchange of greetings.

When I heard about the terrorist attacks in London, I immediately thought of my classmates in English. I sent them a concerned message on WeChat, and they replied politely: ‘Thanks for thinking of me.’ With my friends in China, for the smallest favour, we’ll send a million thank you’s, and that makes you feel very far from each other. The words of a gong by Luo Dayou come to mind: ‘We’re only more polite with friends because we see them less.’ Every new courteous word makes you feel the loss of closeness. I put on my optimistic hat and comfort myself that getting an answer is always better than getting coldly ignored. After all, there is a lot of concerned messages that cross a thousand miles and never receive an answer. And there is a lot of sincere good wishes that never get delivered, because the other person has already unfriended you.

At first, I thought it was just because we were in different countries, and there was too much distance between us. But I gradually realised that even in the same city, it’s completely possible to never see each other until you die, or unless you need a favour. It’s not just like that overseas, it’s also like that in China. But there’s fewer good friends overseas, the nightlife is more boring, and there’s not many people who bother to organise something: that’s why it’s more lonely. In fact, it’s not hard to understand, 远水不解近火,and there are things that it’s pointless to say, so you don’t say them. And so as time passes, you no longer know where to start.




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