I guessed four months, which was undoubtedly cynical of me even if true. Perhaps it was that attitude that did it; but whatever it was it ended up being less than three. Peripherals vanish immediately of course. People that were there but held no strong connection. There was no reason to believe contact would continue afterwards when so little sustained it face-to-face. I've disappeared from them, and they from me: names going first with faces soon to follow. Many I wouldn't recognize already and many more will follow that path. This ends not just memory of the past but chances of the future. This is no great loss, as clearly the opportunities presented themselves and were not taken due to mutual disinterest. Friends I never had because I never wanted them, people that never knew me because I was not going to fit into their life anyways.
With others though, the breach becomes a little more painful. Small moments: passing feelings and thoughts; these things make up a friendship and they quickly vanish out of sight into the past. Moments of real, emotional intimacy are to go next, true understanding vanishing like so much dust in the wind. Soon names slip away and those that remain become merely a collection of half-remembered stories and one or two associated characteristics. It does make me curious: what will my attributes be that those who knew me remember? When all that can be dredged up is one or two moments of interaction and a basic sense of a person what will be my sense? Well, no way to know, no way to tell.
Of course this is not the first time, or even the third; perhaps it hurts more now because it's fresh, maybe it hurt every time and I don't remember. Or maybe because it didn't end in a painful break giving me a fresh start but rather a longing to stay. Or perhaps it's that I have met no one since and instead have become isolated and alone. What better environment to remember my past connections than one without any?
Ah well, no use feeling sorry for myself. I chose to be alone: hoping to move on soon. Perhaps I still will, one can never know when a potential employer will decide it's time to employ again. I may not be good at making friends, but I do it anyway. Or at least I will.