isolation, pt. 4

Of course, every story that says "in retrospect" is a lie. For instance:

In retrospect, I guess we must have met on Valentine's day. I didn't think of it at the time because, you know, we'd just met, and I was single and not really thinking about it at all. I just remember it being one of those Seattle winters that wasn't really a winter, and my sister calling me to tell me she couldn't pick me up after class today, so I thought something like "fuck it, I'm going to walk." Though I guess it's hard to imagine high school-aged me saying "fuck it."

Then about halfway there (it's always halfway when you're walking) I sat down on some random doorstep to tie my shoes and eat some Valentine's candy I'd gotten, and then the girl that lived there came out on the porch and sat next to me. And that was profoundly weird, and I don't think she learned my name for months (she called me Porch Girl until she stopped finding that amusing, which took a while). The rest of that week I walked home from school, hoping she might wait outside for me like she promised she would. And every day there was no one there. Just me and the clang of the city, in this neighborhood I didn't really know. 

Sometimes I still tell people that this was the moment that made me realize that there is this whole world out there, and none of it cares about me, but that's probably not true. I think I always knew that, even as a self-absorbed teen: the world is big and unfriendly. So after I passed her house I thought about what would happen if I took a wrong turn and got lost somehow, and became convinced that nobody would care. Naturally this meant that in my mind, she was inextricable from isolation and loneliness. My only mistake was thinking that she was a shelter from an indifferent world.

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