Does anyone else ever think about what it would be like if they were all in the same room? Or all found you at the same time? It’s a nightmare of mine. Boyfriends. Just-friends who wanted more. Certain crushes. That they all met, that they all started asking questions. You must be. She never told me about. Oh, I heard of you. That guy. And the memories are so close, too close, and you can imagine the conversation. Their voices, the way their body leans against the wall. I daydream. Can you daydream too much? And they find me. And it’s terrifying. Because you never wanted this. But look – there they all are. The has-beens, the what-ifs, the screw-yous. Acting like they know all about me, I can see it. I watch. But they don’t. They know pieces of me, pieces I gave to them.

Sometimes I have what I call day-mares. This isn’t quite one, though it comes close. It took me a long time to figure out what all the dark daymares meant – possibly a story for another time. I won’t figure these out, fully, for awhile.

swirlingThey find me. Because I was worried he would find me. So they all do. It’s why I changed my room code, senior year of college. Three years, nearly, of trusting him with it. It wasn’t the breakup that did it. It was the Tuesday at 8am, when he was outside my door. He didn’t go to my school. He had a lot of friends there. He should have been at his school. He should have been home. I only saw him because I jumped out that morning to sign up for studio space, before anyone else could. I threw on enough clothes to cover with a long winter jacket, and came back to the dorm to properly get ready before meeting a friend for breakfast. He never entered, nothing. But it was a Tuesday. At 8am. And I got scared. He was a nice guy, a good guy. But it was the line. A week or two later I asked my parents if it was okay to charge the extra $100 to have my room code changed. Very few people know that. Know why. He doesn’t even know the truth. When he did find out I’d changed it – that some part of me didn’t trust him – he was pretty angry.

I was glad I had it changed.

Maybe that’s why. Why they all wind up finding me, in these daydreams. Or maybe it’s normal. I don’t know. I’ve only ever been in two relationships. But after each one, after the initial fall-apart, there’s this amazing feeling of freedom. Gradually, I learn to smile with a new memory and not an old. I randomly fall for someone new, or many someones new. And I’m transported to high school, remembering how fun it can be. Eye-candy, crushes, all of it. More daydreams. There’s a certain power in that. All of it, mine. To do with as I please. People can surprise you. More fun is when you surprise yourself.

The strongest friendships prove themselves during this time, right now.

I tend to be the “group photographer.” If you’re one, you know. Always playing catch-up, pausing an extra few moments to get the shot just right. Running to meet them halfway up the block. Zipping into and out of conversations. Most of you is there, but a part of you isn’t. There’s this part of you that’s soaking all of this in, not involved in discussions, just being. Just all of you, being. And so you hang behind, because this is them. These people, they’re yours. So you wait for the right moment. Catch a city shot or a scenic shot while you wait, eyeing their backs, arms slung around each other. And when it’s right, you call out: Guys! Turn around! Aw, come on! And they do, and roll their eyes (you do this a lot, in addition to playing catch-up). And smile. And it’s beautiful. This, right here, is the happiest moment. Years later, it still will be. You don’t even need to be in the picture, because you already know. Those people, in the picture, they’re smiling at you. They are happy, you are happy. Together. Whether you’re physically shown with them or not, you’re there. And those are the best pictures. Those are beautiful.

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