Sometimes you’re twenty-two and waiting for dinner and watching a movie and you’ve left a window slightly open so the room’s getting really, really cold, but you don’t know why. You’re thinking of avant-garde art and the Great Wall of China and bioluminescent trees which could one day replace streetlights. You’re waiting for dinner, but also for a text, because for some reason that text will change your life. The bathroom light is broken and the landlord’s not picking up. She says she has a fever, but you need the light to do your hair and put your blush on because your life’s about to change. Your assignment’s time frame is narrowing but your typing hand is in temporary paralysis so you’ll do it tomorrow. You’re looking at the menu for Greek and suddenly you want Vietnamese and suddenly you’re craving a dish from your childhood, from afterschool, but there’s no afterschool meal time anymore. You’re missing your brothers’ voices in the rooms next door because now the woman in the next apartment is a stranger and you fall asleep to the motorcycle traffic on Crown Street. You’re missing bare feet on your driveway in winter and climbing around your dad’s neck at 7 p.m. You’re twenty-two and you could be doing anything, but you’re watching an old movie, missing everything.
Sometimes you’re dancing in the back room of an arcade. There’s a rock band and an old friend and a new one too. The new friend’s leading you in a lock twirl handstep. They know salsa from home.The bass guitarist wears the logo of a mountain town you know. Your old friend holds your hand as you walk to the bar. You’re ordering the same drink, speaking in foreign accents in familiar ways. Then you’re outside the arcade, just you and her, and the sky is black and the wind is heavy. She’s wrapping you both in her scarf which is blue with silver butterflies. Your breath falls short and you’re laughing at nothing and the Uber driver’s making circles in a cul-de-sac. Sometimes you’re a single point of twenty-two-ness on a volatile plant where everything is terrifying. And sometimes you extend an emotional limb and it finds something to hold on to. At that moment you are connected. You always have been.