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Together. That is my favorite way to be. 

There is no empty air between us in the two front seats of the car. Our words fill the space, getting louder and richer as the color of the sky goes from blue to gold to black. Empty cups and full bladders. We laugh about things no one else would. We play the “what if” game until there is nothing left to ask. Every time you have to go home, I hope that it’s not the last time I see you.

Your music is almost deafening, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, I have decided that I too shall blast every tune until my seat vibrates and the weight in my chest is lighter. We yell over the sound or sit quietly, listening to the words that someone else wrote for someone we don’t know. I drive in so many circles, you must be convinced that it’s my favorite shape. It isn’t, I just like spending time with you. 

I brace myself before you speak, waiting for the stream of gossip and news that never fails to make me laugh. At least if my life is boring, I’ll always have yours to make things interesting. You can never sit still, so we don’t. We walk. We walk in the forest, up the sorry excuse of a mountain that’s really just a stack of rocks that leaves us out of breath. We walk down dirt roads and around the track. God forbid we see anyone we know. You tell me all the things I’ve missed out on, and I’m just glad that one of us is happy. That one of us is living. Before we leave, we count our steps and say how satisfied we are to have walked three miles. I’ll see you soon, we say. We’ll talk again, we promise. Sometimes we do.

I go home, ears buzzing from listening for so long, my smile still stretched across my face. They are my friends and I will see them again. Perhaps tomorrow, or this weekend. Again and again, it goes. Iced tea and loud music and secrets about other people. We are together. 

But life happens, too. And it can’t always be this way. So I say goodbye first to the girl who makes the world seem brighter and makes you feel like you’ve never said anything crazy before. Second, I hug the one who won’t stop living for anything and will bring back stories that I couldn’t dream of. And third, I wave to the girl who still has lyrics on her lips as she walks down her driveway, not looking back.

I drive home with the music quieter than before. The space where they sat feels ten times larger now that I’m unsure of the next time I’ll see them. They have gone to live their lives, and I am here waiting for their return. 

I pull into the driveway and sit. Hands on the wheel, eyes on the ground.

 

It is silent.

I am alone.

Julia is from Westchester, NY and is a sophomore majoring in Exercise Science & Kinesiology. When she's not writing or studying anatomy, she loves hanging out with her dog, Molly, and watching New Girl on repeat.
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