Friday, August 26, 2005

Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme

It's been quite the summer.

The first notable event is the reappearance of my friend Andrew from high school. As I told him, it sounds like a script for a romantic comedy: Girl, age 13, meets Boy on her first day visiting her new high school. For the next two years of school Girl adores Boy from afar, learns to play chess, and generally pours herself into a nonexistent relationship, but is too scared to say anything. She eventually moves on.

Four years later, Boy is on his way to grad school on the other side of the country but first phones Girl out of the blue. Why? He wants to pursue Girl #2, who happens to enjoy the same hobby that occupies our heroine's Saturday evenings: swing dancing. After she is done laughing, Girl agrees to teach him. Boy and Girl proceed to spend the rest of the summer swing dancing on Saturdays and then going to his house to talk about everything from religion to nitrogen-fixing bacteria while watching the parenting behavior of the fish he rescued from the biology lab. Also, insert humorous scene in which giant swing dancing man who's fond of Girl wants to pummel Boy for bringing another friend to the swing dance when Girl is out of town.

Now, if this were a movie script, it would end with Boy and Girl #2 enrapturedly swing dancing in some notable place like Boston Common or the airport and then closing credits to something like “Sing Sing Sing.” Unfortunately it didn't work out that way, but now Andrew has another hobby to keep him even busier at Stanford and we both have a friend.

It's been the most wonderful closure. After spending two years working up my nerve to touch his hand on the last day of Spanish class sophomore year, the idea that I would ever teach him to swing and waltz and salsa would have made my jaw drop. After spending two years formulating theories about what he must be like, I finally got to know him. I finally get what I once wanted more than anything in the world: to see him happy, or at least happy enough to dispel the impression I once had that he really hated his life. Eli once said I had bad taste for liking him, but I now have enough information to strongly disagree.

Andrew, once in Spanish class you made some joke about Guy Noir, and I thought, “If he listens to Prairie Home Companion, when I listen to it I'll think of him, and then we'll be listening together even after he's far away.” I'll still do that.

Now comes the second, less happy closure of the summer. Today I see Simon for the last time in the foreseeable future.

He makes me wish there were a system where people could review other people they know, so I could leave him about the best review ever. My parents used to ask me how I could care so much about hungry people in Africa and still be mean to my sister. He is what they wanted me to be. I wouldn't have thought it possible to date someone for more than two years and never speak a single unkind word to her, but he's done it. When I'm in a low spot I always know in the back of my head that I love him, and if I brought that to the front of my mind I wouldn't take out my crabbiness on him. But he somehow never takes anything out on me, although I undoubtedly deserve it at times.

Me going to Denmark is a fairly natural breaking-off point, and at least we get to stay friends this way. They say that of your occupation, your home, and your family/significant other you should never change more than one at a time. I'm breaking that rule, but hopefully it will be easier to miss him as a friend than it would have been otherwise.

I feel I should have a set of spectacular goals for the semester, but at the moment I can only think of a few:
Learn Danish enough to converse
Get along with my host family
Don't start crying anywhere embarrassing, such as the plane

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