Today, I woke up thinking about how many people in the world actually matter to me, and to how many people in the world I actually matter. It was not a long list.
This line of thought all began last night when my best Virginia friend, Erin, went missing. Erin lives down the street, has a brood of children, and is expecting another, which means that she usually isn't difficult to locate. As a matter of fact, I've been known to track her to the grocery store up the street, and pinpoint her exact location within said store without even knowing she was there, because that's just the way it is. But last night, she was nowhere to be found. Her car was missing, she wasn't answering the home phone, her mobile phone was off, and her house was dark. Post-multiple child bedtime, she was still nowhere to be found. I panicked.
One might wonder why I panicked because a grown woman and her family happened to not be home at 7pm on a Saturday night. Maybe they had gone to dinner, or to a movie. But I knew that wasn't true, I KNOW her, and I was terrified something bad had happened. Irrational? Perhaps. But people don't make a habit of walking around referring to me as "rational." E. doesn't have anyone here, I have established myself as her local family.
An hour later when she got home and found the messages I had left on her phones, she called me. She and the family were fine, they had found out last minute that they had to attend some Navy function out of town and had gotten back late as a result. I was relieved, because during that little window of time that she was missing, I realized that E. was one of the few people whose loss I would mourn deeply. And then I realized that those "few" people, were really limited to approximately four, outside of my very close family.
I am not a particularly lovable girl, and I don't readily love people in return. I have an abundance of friends, whom within me most stir lukewarm feelings of random affection, much like the way I feel about my favorite t-shirt. (Except, now that I think about it more carefully, I worry much more about losing or ruining my favorite t-shirt. It, after all, is dependent on me, while the people are not.) Likewise, I am a plaything to a lot of my friends, someone who is quirky and uninhibited with her words, someone who can fill some time for them while they wait on something else. I'm used to it, and occasionally revel in it. It's the role in which I've been typecast, a role in which I've become comfortable.
If I started loving others more deeply, would they feel that way in return? I don't know. It doesn't really matter. I can't change who I am, and honestly, I don't want to do so. I don't mind being tight-fisted with my true emotions. It makes them all the more real to those whom I choose to share them, whether they know it or not. I know who they are, and it matters to me.