Julia – we drunkenly made out once on my brother’s couch, and in a weird way, it solidified our friendship . We still haven’t talked about it, but maybe this thing can spark that conversation. Either way, I think we’re cool. After all, our group text is called ‘sexual tension,’ so isn’t it expected? I think we’re past that now.
Scrolling through our Facebook photos, it’s no won- der why all of my other friends think we are dating. I especial- ly like the photo of me lick- ing your face– it describes us pretty well. Our friends are pretty tight too. You’re pretty chill for someone who hates most interests of mine. One day you will come to a Nass meeting with me and the fel- low co-authors of this magnum opus of our freshman year. All for you.
The first text I sent you said “love me.” I had met you once, and sent it from your room- mate’s phone. You were too cool to play it cool. It was the be- ginning of a (believe it-or-not) platonic relationship. Everyone calls you “Ruds,” but I don’t get it. You’re not that rude.
he was the kind of girl guys would call “chill,” or a “bro,” but she was also pretty enough that she wasn’t just one of the guys either. I probably would much.
I met her at Forbes Sunday Brunch early on in the year and was grateful to have finally found someone I sincerely wanted to be friends with. Mostly I thought she had good taste in clothes. (One thing about her is that she’ll wear rompers with tights even when it’s freezing cold out, always serving as a re- minder that it doesn’t hurt to look hot even if it induces mild hypothermia).
We became friends in that awkward freshman way, getting meals together even when we didn’t have that much to talk about and prematurely adding each other on Snapchat. I soon discovered that despite her pretty face, she can send some gnarly snaps—a testament to her self-esteem. Eventually our relationship became real , though I don’t really remember when. Maybe it was over winter break when she changed her profile picture to a photo of the two of us? Or that time we both had flights departing at 10:34 am—me to Los Angeles, her to Boston—and spent the train ride to Newark together, talking and napping?
Since then, I’ve gotten to know her better. Not a day goes by without extended amounts of time spent with her—whether it’s going for a Tico’s run, pretending to study in Frist, or attending Gemma’s yoga classes at Gratitude. A couple weeks ago I half-jokingly told her that I was nervous we might get sick of each other. The next day she stopped me in the middle of a sentence, and with a genuine look of concern, asked: “Do you really think we’re going to get tired of each other? Should we spend less time together?”
I rolled my eyes, shrugging it off. “No, of course not,” I said. “Wanna go get Tico’s?”
We sipped our drinks—a Green Monster for me, mango-smoothie-please-add-kale-to-make-it-healthy for her—and toasted to the next three years.
We met when charlie asked her to marry him at Tamar’s birthday. We met a second time when he asked her to marry him at late meal, and a third time at a pregame. Before I ever spoke to her alone, I had heard three times how much he loved her.
Our first interaction sans proposal was me asking her if she’d seen Charlie recently. I wasn’t actually looking for him, but I had nothing else to say. All there was to do was grasp onto the tenuous string that connected us. In a way our conversations still feel like that—picking up where someone else left off. Jokes about marriage, strings of emojis. When Charlie’s declarations of love ceased, the skeleton of our friend- ship remained. The connection less tenuous, but still coopted.
For what it’s worth this piece makes me uncomfortable. Thanks to an enthusiastic group message conversation, I find myself writing it. I’m not an awkward straggler tagging along; I get the inside jokes, I enjoy the conversations. But I don’t call you Ruds and we’ve never made out on Charlie’s brother’s couch (not a proposition).
I hope it doesn’t devalue our friendship or its potential for growth. We can keep holding on to the tenuous connections while they become a little stronger.
Consensus claims that I’ve met Julia on three separate occasions before our friendshiptruly formed. I mean “met” in the very literal sense: “Hello, what’s your name? I’m Zach, nice to meet you.” Our first encounter took place in the midst of the Outdoor Action shuffle. According to legend—that is, to Julia— our OA groups crossed paths several times on the Delaware Water Gap. Also according to legend, there is a group photo in which we were both pictured. A few weeks ago when Julia informed me of the early start in our friendship, I was both shocked and confused: how had I missed this person completely?
“Yeah, Zach, we met on OA… and one time you were literally sitting on my bed in my dorm when I came in. You were having a wine night with my roommate. Remember I said ‘haha, so many random people on my bed!’ And you apologized?”
I have no recollection of this exact exchange. I remembered the wine night well: I was writing an article while sipping wine in typical faux-aristocratic fashion; but when attempting to recall talking to Julia, I had only an amorphous memory of some nondescript person commenting on my place on the bed.
At first, I resolved not to think too much of my forgetfulness. My friendship with Julia, which really only cemented itself came about strongly Spring semester, is more important than the preamble. It wasn’t until Julia commented on a photo from Tamar’s birthday dinner, in which she and all four of the authors here were posing together, that I began to really cross-examine my oddly specific amnesia. After realizing that I had no idea Julia was even at this dinner, I was able to put my thumb on the conundrum.
You might think that this pattern of me meeting Julia and completely forgetting her is a consequence of my unyielding egocentrism—and you would be totally right . But I think it also says lot about her essence: just your typical white girl. Of course peeling back the layers and getting to know her this semester erased our earlier, superficial encounters from my memory. They simply weren’t in accord with the person I know now: a spunky white girl computer engineer with a propensity for oversharing and an amazingly wry sense of humor.
And, to be honest, I prefer the Julia I know now to the old one.