Infinitely distant

There are places that are distant in space and there are places that are distant in time. Often the latter can seem more heartbreaking.

When I was a teenager I was a counselor at a performing arts camp. One of the people working there was a professional clown named Toby. He was there to teach the children circus arts.

Toby was a very sweet man, but he also seemed a little sad and a little lost. After camp was over I never thought I would see him again.

Then some years later, after I was all grown up, he showed up as a barista in a coffee shop on 8th Street. I happen to be walking by, and I saw him working there behind the counter, so I came in to say hello. We were both very happy to see each other.

I never saw Toby again. I often wondered what happened to him after that, but there was no good way to find out.

Just this morning I walked past that same coffee shop. Needless to say, it has changed hands many times since then, but it is on exactly the same street corner as the coffee shop where I last saw Toby all those years ago.

It’s such a strange feeling. A place can be right in front of you, just a few short steps away, yet so infinitely distant.

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