Running into people again after some time has passed, people who used to be friends, then became not friends, without becoming enemies--friends who were misplaced like stuff that went missing during a move to a new house. Or those who did become enemies, were suddenly cut out of our lives, but now, after some time has passed, the hate has settled down to indifference.
These reunions are awkward, pleasant and unpleasant at the same time, bittersweet, especially if the people were more than just friends, but lovers, intimates, or (once) almost constant companions.
You look at these people and they are the same people--and yet we're not the same--you're not the same and they're not the same--like flowers pressed and dried between the pages of an old book. Same flowers, only the color has grayed, the suppleness is now dry and tissuey.
Buddhists (or some Buddhists) believe that emotional attachments have to be shed, that the attachments we keep up until our dying day will somehow weigh down our souls, keep us from the perfect peace, nirvana--that such attachments trap our spirits in cycles of nonstop suffering.
Attachments, which at first define us, in time will burden us ... to death, if we can't release them.
These second or third meetings with old friends or lovers, after the interval of years--even decades, make us aware of how we shed our skins over time, like snakes, we become "new creatures." The old attachments, old passions, die away--not suddenly--worse: never suddenly--the lust that boiled up into love settles into affection, a calmer, more distant feeling.
A part of us feels good about this calmer way of looking at those old friends, old lovers, and a part of us, of course, misses the little pains and worries, and especially the shots of elation, that the old passionate attachments used to give us.
But mostly, I think, we feel it is good for us (for maybe our souls) to outgrow our attachments, however sad the thought of the losses is, just to know that we continue to grow.