Once in the streets of New York we screamed at each other and even as I didn’t understand why we were screaming at each other, somewhere inside I sort of knew—this is my fault. And I tried to backpedal over the past year and a half to pinpoint the exact moment where it had gone wrong for me but in truth it had gone wrong a long time before that, and this same person now yelling at me was the reason I was here, was the reason I had left Connecticut, was the reason I had picked up and moved out and done something drastic and terrifying and, ultimately, important. And the best sort of person is the sort who drags you out of a life of comfort and ease and stands screaming at you on a street corner because you are not living up to your potential, you are not doing anything good at all, you are doing a really good job at faking a productive life but you aren’t actually producing anything. You are just standing still; you are just treading water in a tepid, dirty pool.
Two years later she called me out of the blue. She never calls me. She sends barrages of texts, she sends me long, winding emails that start in one place and end up somewhere entirely different, but she never calls me, and she certainly never leaves me voicemails. I listened to her message outside the Nevins St subway stop and felt sure someone had died. Instead she said—in that quick, excited voice she gets when she hasn’t really thought something through—do you want to go to Spain? I’m going to Spain in three weeks. Can you come? Can you please, please come?
In Park Guell we were so tired we fell asleep standing up; we ate dripping ice cream and made each other laugh. We held our cameras like fools, not even awake enough to decide where to point them. Outside la Sagrada Familia we ate thin pizza and drank bad coffee and just stared up at this thing that looked like it didn’t even belong on this earth. It felt like we had come up out of the metro into a different universe; it felt like a band of orcs were about to turn the corner, shouting something about a ring, something about a mountain of fire.
But still that moment on the streets of New York stays with me. We just stood and screamed at each other and even as we stood there screaming I was thinking all these other things. I had never stood and screamed at someone else before. I didn’t know what it meant; I didn’t know how to stop screaming. It was like as soon as I opened my mouth it was stuck open forever. I think she turned and left me on the corner but I’m not sure. The only thing I remember is the screaming. The only thing I remember is just trying to close my mouth.
She sent me an email the other day and in it there was this phrase—some mythic idea of perfect adulthood—and I just read that over and over to myself on the bus as the windows steamed up and the rain stopped and the city just sort of breathed in and out and I thought about what she meant and what this implied and how jealous I have always been of her sharp succinctness. And how happy I am, sure, that in this huge jumble of a world, I was able to meet her. We walked home down Boylston and spent our cab money on a pair of lukewarm coffees. And it seemed so obvious—like all the best relationships feel. Like, oh. Of course. You’ll be my friend now. One day you’ll yell at me on the corner of 60th and 1st but you know what? I’ll deserve every word of it.
My friend Amanda blogs here and you should go and read every word she writes and look at every photograph she posts, because she’s brilliant.