I'm a little awkward when I first meet people, overly quiet and shy. Not the normal amounts of introversion; it's unhealthy. But I think it's such a beautiful thing when I can finally open up to those same people, tell them I love them for being my best friends.
But hugging you has always been (and will always be) my favorite, Tom. I've known you, probably, since about second grade, when I moved out to the island and, in my seven-year-old way, never thought I would make friends again, especially not in an elementary school that wasn't P.S. 193. I don't know how or when we finally decided to be friends; I can't remember after all these years of bike rides, boy troubles, and mocking the children we passed in the village. We were always so mature, so beyond all that.
We always fit. Seeing you after a rough day, saying goodbye after hours spent together - we'd hug, and we'd always just fit. I have a whole foot of obnoxious height on you, so I can rest my chin on top of your head, throw my arms around your neck, and squeeze. Perfection. That was always the real deal. A real hug. The hug that made me love hugs, that inspired me to give them more freely to the people that mattered.
Be safe. Kick ass. And I'll be waiting for you, right here, with open arms.
I was just looking at me window, pondering the world beyond, when I decided to take a closer look at the window itself. It's the one that faces west, the one that lets in the sunset, the one that overlooks the backyard. And, by God, I wish I'd had a childhood best friend who would've been willing to climb a ladder and crawl through that window to visit me in our formative years. If I'd had a guy to fall in love with, one who lived right down the street and loved me right back, I would've been set. I could've had a soul mate.
I would have been all over being a female Dawson Leery. There's no creek, but there's a canal two blocks west - perfect for rowing over to visit a buddy! You can't see the canal from my room, but it's there. That's all that matters. This isn't a tiny, picturesque, supposedly New England fishing village, but I do technically live in a village. And we like fish. And, okay, we actually have screens on our windows and, occasionally, I get cold and have to close it or I get paranoid and lock it against crooks and criminals. But I've got an overhang for him to crawl on and the window's big enough for any of my adolescent crushes to have fit through. All that's missing is the ladder.
Sometimes, I like to take a step back and look at my life like an omniscient narrator in a big-budget romantic comedy.
I watched myself help my mom make a lasagna last weekend, and the scene was absolutely perfect. I was thinking about my love life, being woefully single, hoping to find work, stuck living at home, while simultaneously forcing myself to be upbeat to make Mom happy and only really reaching "sarcastic" or "wry sense of humor" on the giddiness scale. The look on my face - world-weary - was great, spot-on. My body language, as I spread ricotta and snuck mozzarella, read "downtrodden, but hopeful." I stared at a spot on the wall and thought back to simpler times, the voiceover helpfully explaining that faraway look in my eyes. "It hasn't always been this way," I told the audience. "I wasn't always a cat lady with a writing notebook in which to scribble notes, living in my banana yellow bedroom and daydreaming about fictional characters, managing to pull myself from fantasy just long enough to help my vaguely verbally abusive mother make a lasagna for Sunday dinner."
I am the pathetic, mid-thirties, struggling author, romcom protagonist. And I am nineteen years old.