I lived in Buffalo, NY for the first 24 years, 10 months of my life. I left just a tad over ten years ago. That first year of being away from home I visited often. I don’t remember how often, exactly, but probably more than five times and less than ten. Nowadays, I might go up once or twice. My visits now, as infrequent as they are, remind me of everything that’s changed since I left.
Obviously, in ten years there have been a lot of changes to the physical landscape. Businesses change names or close completely. The waterfront is completely different than when I left. New restaurants and public areas have cropped up. My high school is no longer in the same building (this actually happened before I left, but still).
But the people have changed, too. I’m different. My friends are different. My family is different. We can slide back into our old dynamics, fall into the old routines, but if you take a step back for more than a second it’s easy to see the changes in everyone.
So, in a sense, I think that our relationships are like the cities we live in. They change slowly, little by little, and it’s not always noticeable unless you take the time to notice it. This story is about that feeling of driving through someplace that should be familiar, and then you realize it’s not what you remember. Somewhere along the way, without your noticing, it changed into something you don’t recognize.
What you do with that realization only you can know. I don’t think the ending of this story is ambiguous, in fact I think the Universe is yelling at Geoff and Zelda something obvious to everyone but them, but it is unclear what they’ll do with the information. Most likely, they’ll ignore it and continue on like they always have. But maybe, the nudge is what will help them realize that in order to come to recognize the external changes pushing down on you, you also have to recognize the internal changes that can help you come to terms with it.