Years ago, I knew somebody once. Here’s to the discarded bits and pieces that make up a mote of my memory.
They1 came into my life in a time of change. Significant change, really. Both of us were walking into a new period in our lives, and we shared enough in common to become friends. (Gotta love it when random chance causes two peoples’ paths to collide.)
We spent some time together. Good food and good conversation were had. Really, I’m an easy target - that’s about all it takes to start a decent friendship with me.
They thought it might be fun to play some games. We picked up Overcooked 2 and made utter fools of ourselves. And laughed. And we got some more friends together. And we laughed.
They thought we, our little gang of game aficionados, should all talk more. So we did. Thus, extra sauteed was born: the little online hideout of a ragtag group of acquaintances. In time, friends.
It began as a group chat. Voice calls happened. So did video calls, for that matter. We grew, and we grew, and we all got damn tired of all the pings from having a dozen+ people in a single direct message. So, that was that: we made ourselves a little server, and that group chat became a deprecated archive.
Many of us were artists. (Certainly not myself, though - I’ve always been more of a musician.) Many of us enjoyed computer science. Of course, Overcooked was a perpetual favorite. As I recall, there was a specific text channel for memes about my love of dumplings. (There is exactly one person responsible for that, and they know who they are.) Much food was cooked in the real world, too, and many tasty photos were shared. (And a recipe for focaccia which I never got to try - sadly, I no longer have a copy2.) Good times were had.
They thought heading out to see a movie would be fun. We got a few people together and headed down to a local theater. Not my first time seeing the particular film3 of the evening, but I enjoyed it nonetheless - it’s one I particularly enjoy. The evening was fun, if brash (one of our companions seemed to have no awareness of their speaking volume). Later, however, things were said that were rather insensitive. Granted, my louder companion was part of a community that would semi-casually use the phrases said as a way to vent frustration…always in context. Outside of that context, however, what she meant as innocent venting came out as a spiteful tongue-lashing against me.
I didn’t blame her. Not really. Still, her comments stung with a unique blend of spite, somewhere in the middle between ignorance and insensitivity. At the end of the day, it was a relatively small matter, and we resolved our differences years ago. In her words, it was “hurtful shit,” and I know a genuine apology when I see one.
We didn’t talk much one-on-one after that, though. Not for any particular reason, but simply because we never did.
They had some time to kill and wanted to hang out. We headed up to my apartment, along with our foccacia-loving friend. Squeezing three people onto a rather small couch isn’t easy, but we made it work…and I completely misjudged the ripeness of my avocados. Whoops. (That was some terrible guacamole - I’m still embarrassed by that.) They broke out their Switch, and we laughed at how terrible we were at Smash. As afternoon waned into evening, we simply sat - by this time, our third friend had left. They started knitting, I think - probably a pair of socks. (Almost certainly a pair of socks.) Time passed, a moment of blissful silence after the raucous laughter of before. They turned to me, after a time, and commented simply on how utterly lovely it was to be the sort of friends who are content to just sit…and quietly just enjoy time in each others’ presence.
(This is the point where I ought to add something reflective, but honestly nothing’s coming to mind.)
They were dropping me off - I had hitched a ride home with them from…something. (Exactly what, I cannot recall - it must’ve been before I had my Mazda.) We stopped in a chilly parking lot - I stepped out, and heard not a moment later, “hey, can I ask you something?”
Apparently, somebody had an unreciprocated crush on me.
They weren’t too disappointed when I let them down. (I think - no matter what they will say, I was still overcoming my relative emotional obliviousness back then.) With any luck, I did so at least somewhat gracefully - when that sort of thing happens for the first time in a long while, my brain has a bad habit of - effectively - segfaulting. You’d think it would’ve taught me something…but no, I learned absolutely nothing when the exact same thing happened again just a little while ago.
We settled on a hug instead, and things went alright.
Things fizzled out, as they do. They got a boyfriend, I think. Conversation wasn’t invigorating anymore, so extra sauteed slowly dwindled. I left after a while; I’m not sure what happened to the leftovers of our more-ragged-than-tagged group. Nothing in particular happened to split the group apart - we just kinda became distanced from each other. Sometimes that happens, I guess.
I think they’re married now, to someone else who I’ve never met. Good for them.
|…In hindsight, part of what I just wrote sounds woefully wistful, hah. Like someone still harboring unrequited love…except I was on the other side of it this time around. Isn’t language lovely?|
In any case…that’s about where that story ends. (There’s no nice wrap-up, I wasn’t really there for it.)
In summary, here’s to a few brief moments in time: pieces of beautiful reality, shared between me and someone who, in a sense, no longer is here. One might liken it to the natural process of life: we all grow, change, evolve as complex emotional beings. Somehow, though, I feel this is more than that: the sort of radical self-discovery that helps you sculpt a new identity can hardly leave one’s mind untouched. (Nor should it.) Everyone feels this impact differently - some people meld into a revised, revitalised iteration of their core being. Others emerge from the flame of self-discovery leaving no piece unchanged: they never stop being, well, them, but perhaps they leave behind some discarded bits and pieces of a former self.
Sometimes, others miss those little bits and pieces.
So, here’s to the iteration of that person I knew, and here’s to the person they are now. Thanks for the memories, and good luck on your future journey in life!
Intentionally leaving pronouns vague here; said pronouns fluctuated over the course of time - and between me starting and finishing this blag. ↩
If by some chance you’re reading this - you know who you are - mind sending me a copy of that again? :) ↩
Nope, I’m not dating things that precisely, nice try though. ↩