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If I Were a Bridge

for albert

Do not burn bridges. Friendship is a bridge.

Initially, when we think of a bridge, we imagine a constructed artifice which serves man by delivering him from one point to another in convenience. In convenience because a bridge is built to strategically connect two points at the shortest possible distance; it does not make sense to make a longer bridge when you can make a shorter one. Sensibly, a bridge is a practical innovation for people whose feet are always moving and whose eyes are always looking beyond what is near and into what is on the horizon. A bridge is man's wish to solidify what he walks on knowing that he cannot walk on water. To a certain extent, by building a bridge you are already flying.

But what essentially is a bridge? Is it merely a connection or a transition from one point to another? If I were a bridge, I wouldn't feel that. To be sure, humans would walk on me with the intention of reaching the other end; but when they walk on me, from end to end, they walk on me and not on the two distant points. True, I recognize that I have ends--those two points--but those ends are not only for me the two places I connect but those ends constitute me essentially; they make me what I am. What being does not have an end? Those very limits define me; they are mine and not of the two places I connect. In short, I am my own man. I exist not as an extension of two points; but I am a line which coincidentally ends on those two points. Those two points, as it were, remain themselves even if I touch them. Conversely, I remain a bridge by myself even if I am touched by those two points. To me, it does not matter what points I connect (two cliffs, two banks, two streets, etc.) because I have my own being. Technically speaking, I am a subsistent relation between two points. Relation because I bring two distant and different points together (I make them meet) and subsistent because I am not an accidental feature of the two points but I make the relation by virtue of my own being, that is, by being a bridge.

If it were not for me, the two points I bring together would not be related to each other. They have no way of extending themselves to other points by virtue of their definition of being a point: they have to stay there, stay put in their location, in their simple indivisibility without
extension. My miracle of miracles is my ability to gather these two points. But it is important to mention here that I do not dissolve those two points into a unity or an identity; they remain themselves, distant to each other yet now nearer to each other because of me. I preserve their distance and actually distance is what essentially constitutes me; if those two points were already co-incidental and not only near but are already the same (same point with no difference), they would not only have no need of me but they would also no longer have a relation to each other. Because remember, I am the relation itself. And I would need distance and difference as requirements before I come into the picture. I may gather two points together but I do not dissolve them into a unity. Actually, I make them more different, farther from each other even if I bring them together. Why?

Because I am the sadness of two points that will never be together in each other's arms. But I am also the joy of two people who need not meet but now call themselves friends.


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