A year ago. 4/7.


I’ve started wearing a necklace my parents gave me for my 30th birthday, months before—a small, simple round diamond in a small, simple round gold setting. I’m not religious or even superstitious, but treating it as a benevolent, protective charm seems sufficient to make it so. Like, hey. A little autopsychosomatic trickery never hurt anyone.

My high school BFF Jessica is overnighting on her way to South Carolina. She’s got her two sugar gliders with her, and because sugar gliders are among the cutest creatures ever devised by nature, I am easily persuaded to let her pitch a tent—an actual tent, which she finds is a portable yet spacious way to give her darlings real estate on the road—in my tiny guest room/craft room. We have enough time to get them situated before climbing into my decrepit-yet-loyal Focus for a midweek, hour-long jaunt to Greensboro; the Mythbusters are doing their live show there. I’ve seen it once before, in Raleigh, but Jess never has, and she’s pretty amped for some live-action, family-friendly pop science pyrotechnics.

I don’t see Jessica very often, since we graduated military school a thousand years ago. Adults are poorly equipped to fend off the crippling pathogens of schedule and responsibility, and we are no different—but we’re lucky in that each meeting feels like a continuation of the last. No matter how long it’s been since we’ve actually seen or even spoken to one another, it always feels like the last time was yesterday.

So I tell her everything. About my recent breakup, barely a month old, still cooling on the windowsill; about the ill-advised streetside shenanigans; about OkCupid, and this one guy who seems pretty cool. In the car, I pass her my phone and let her scroll through the app, and my inbox. Our gleeful ridicule buffs the edges off my disposition.

Dustin and I have been corresponding throughout the day; I brought myself to write to him in the middle of the afternoon. Still book talk, mostly. He makes soap for funsies. My brain goes straight to Fight Club and I say so.

At 6:50 p.m., he writes:

That’s it! A competitive boring-off!

I knit chainmail and enjoy board games. I don’t think I have an alter ego spawned by insomnia. If I do he’d better be half as awesome as Tyler and have at least a quarter of the looks.

As I’m sitting in a packed Greensboro auditorium, it’s intermission before I get a minute and the wherewithal to reply:

I cosplay, and enjoy board games as well!

I’m no Marla Singer, thank fuck.

I barely know what that last part means, and I’m not completely sure it’s true.

When Jessica and I, thoroughly enscienced, get home, we sit in the tent and talk and make baby voices at the sugar gliders, and for a blessed few hours my life regains the familiar, rightful dimensions of a Virginia high school dorm room.


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