A Number We Don’t Lose, But Never Text
To all the friends who come and go
We meet in a class, or a hallway, or a party, or through a friend of a friend.
I don’t know, I don’t remember.
On some indeterminate day, in some indeterminate way, you and I fall into step.
Blue eyes, a serious look, and a shy smile.
Suddenly, we are sitting together, studying together, strolling the campus together.
Suddenly, your friends are adding me on Facebook and your sister knows my name.
We have fun. I don’t always get your jokes, you don’t always get mine, and yet we’re always laughing.
But I embarrass you. You think I’m loud sometimes (I am) and I can never not ask a question (why is that?). You don’t say it and I don’t see it, but there it is.
We stop talking one summer, or mid-semester, or during exams.
I don’t remember our first conversation and I don’t remember our last.
On some indeterminate day, at some indeterminate time, we stop talking.
An unanswered message, a skipped lunch.
Suddenly, we pass each other and nod, we pass each other and wave, we pass each other and never stop and never stay. Suddenly, your friends don’t know me, and I don’t know your friends.
One day we were friends and one day we were something else; a number we don’t lose, but never text.
How many people walk in and out of our lives? No goodbyes said, no questions asked. When does a person become the friend we talk to every week? When do we notice it? Do we recognize a friend’s first steps toward the vaguely defined land of somebody-that-I-used-to-know?
I hold no grudges and feel no regret. It was real while it lasted, and I’m glad we met.