Gold foil illustration of stars

Moment Of Tangency

A Fleeting Glimpse of What Might Have Been

You and I have never met, many times before. Our paths might have crossed once or twice online, or while passing in the street. We might have spent an hour sitting back-to-back at the same airport gate, or even exchanged a few words over the phone, when I dialed your number by mistake. For all we know, we might have been living in the same neighborhood for decades—but against incredible odds, we just happened to miss each other. It’s a big world, after all.

Our days must be filled with these chance encounters, that for a million tiny reasons, never actually happen. Our streets must be teeming with accidental strangers, who just happened to miss their cue—who share everything in common, except for time and place. For years, their stories might’ve been happening in parallel, harmonizing from somewhere across the world, but neither has any idea that the other even exists. If two lines are truly parallel, it means they’ll never actually meet.

It’s hard not to think of your own near-misses, veering away on a tangent in some alternate universe. The person who would’ve been your best friend in the world might be out there somewhere, milling around a party you weren’t invited to. Your business partner might be sitting on half of a world-changing idea, waiting for your contribution to arrive, though it never will. It’s hard not to glance at a stranger in a crowd and imagine the life you might have shared, if only things had been different—feeling a pang of missed connection as you carry on your separate ways, leaving nothing but an echo of something that might have been.

You never know how many things had to happen exactly right for you to meet the one you love. You never know how easily fate might have tipped you onto some other course, meeting some stranger, who might have felt like a soulmate. As you sit there on your commuter train, wrapped up in your own concerns, you have no way of knowing how close you’re sitting to the person you might have loved, who you might have spent years with, even built a family. You would have looked across the room at this same face, and struggled to imagine life without them, telling yourself that it was always meant to be. As if you had known all along that your paths would cross eventually.

Maybe you were always destined to be sitting right where you’re sitting. Or maybe it’s a miracle that you managed to meet the people you did, knowing how many obstacles might have gotten in the way. Or maybe it’s nothing personal, and it was all just a coincidence. You never know.In geometry, a tangent is the point at which a line “just touches” a curve, where they share precisely the same angle, before separating again and carrying on to infinity.

In geometry, a tangent is the point at which a line "just touches" a curve, where they share precisely the same angle, before separating again and carrying on to infinity.










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