My grandmother used to tell a story about how, back in the 1940s, her best friend moved from Melbourne to Sydney. What today is a bit under a one hour flight, back then meant being a world away. She told me this story on the eve of my leaving Australia to move to Zimbabwe. For my grandmother this truly was a journey to the ends of the earth. "You have to understand," she said, "when my friend moved to Sydney I had to accept that I would never see her again." She spent many hours poring through books on Zimbabwe that she borrowed from the library, trying to determine whether this was a place, unlike Sydney, that a person might actually one day come back from.
Despite our easy mobility and global connectedness, that fear of never seeing someone again has not entirely gone away. Sure you may stay friends on Facebook, occasionally retweet something funny they said, or like a picture of their new aspirational Instagram life. But still there's the lingering suspicion that you've said your last in-person goodbye. You go one way, they go another and your paths never cross again. Or even worse, they may return, only to find you gone.
This fear looms largest in the world of dating. We are constantly told to be on the lookout for our soul mate - that one person we are destined to be with forever. That one person who, through some sort of cosmic lottery is the only person who will 'complete' us. If there is indeed only one person out there, so the logic goes, you would be mad to let any soul-mate-worthy opportunity slip away. That, however, is usually easier said than done.
In my experience at least, the ones who come the closest to being soul mates always seem to appear at the most random, inconvenient and complicated times. You're about to leave the country. You've just started a relationship with someone else. You've just had an accident, been promoted, been fired. Or sometimes several of these at once.
And then you're stuck wondering what should you do? Take a leap of faith and hope that it will all work out? Rationalise that it was clearly not meant to be? Or do you simply hold onto the moment and enjoy it for all that it's worth?
In J'n'R we get to tease out all of these possibilities. We break hearts, put them back together again, and then...? Well usually, then we get to sit back and enjoy the stories our audience members tell. The ones that usually start with 'Oh yeah, that happened to me...' If you've got a story, we'd love to hear it.