HERE WE ARE, SO SIMPLY

WORDS: LIZ CETTINA '18

IMAGE: ELIJAH STEVENS '15

IMAGE: ELIJAH STEVENS '15

I am always the one to select music in the car, though I will tell anyone who listens that I’m not. I have zero sense of direction. I don’t accept responsibility for things that are sometimes, okay, often my fault. I try to get mad at people when I think I should be, but usually, I just end up forgiving them. I am easily excitable and overeager, but sometimes I’m despondent and defeatist. I just hope I’m not a pushover.

You always forget to hold the door open for people walking behind you. You pour too much milk in your coffee and spill it on your walk from the kitchen counter to the table. You hold grudges easily and, even, hold some for me. You tell me not to watch a movie until I’ve read the book. You snap your fingers whenever you’re cleaning your room, more so when you’re putting your laundry away. You get mad when I send you a link to an article you’ve already read. 

My jokes will never be as funny as yours, not as witty or sharp. You’ve been holding a grudge against Phillip for three years because he took the last three rolls in the dining hall. We never do anything together, which is what we agree on most. In addition to the fact that we always want to be together. You have always owned too many sweaters.

I just hate when you hold grudges against me.

You drive under the speed limit but barely do your homework. I never make it all the way through TV shows you tell me to watch.  Thank you for never making me explain why I almost always didn’t really want to, would rather not, if it’s okay with you, hang out at my house. You have always had more Twitter followers than me. You can find your way home from anywhere without a GPS. I know you want what’s best for me. I was just trying to start a conversation.

We went to Bonnaroo together, and the Dr. Dog concert. We drove to Massachusetts and back in one day so I could visit Amherst without my parents. We went to the beach after five this summer so we wouldn’t have to pay for beach passes. So, why did we decide to go to school in two different states when there was a month over the summer when we saw each other every single day?

I want to want to know your new friends, but I can’t connect their names to their faces or maybe I just don’t want to. Your parents told you they trust me more than they trust themselves, so they let us stay home alone for a week, knowing or not knowing what we’d do while they were gone. The thing is you never ask where Caroline is from, or who Leah is hooking up with, or what time I’m going to dinner. I never thanked you for introducing me to Tenth of December. We laughed for 15 minutes straight in my car in the parking lot of Red Robin. Neither of us had made a joke. I can’t wait to get drunk at your wedding.

The other day Caroline saw a text from you on my phone and said, “You got a text from someone who uses words the same way you do.” I once drove 80 without realizing it. I hated you for getting A’s on papers you wrote the day before they were due. I want my copy of Goon Squad back. You told me slow down. I think I didn’t thank you because you expected me to. The night your parents left, we sat outside on adirondack chairs, lit a fire, and drank mimosas out of coffee cups. I went to the library last Friday night to read.

You are the source of me and Dani’s friendship. I was always just one book behind. You and Dani were always at soccer practice. Or lacrosse. Or out for team dinners. I watched all your home games from the sidelines, standing next to your parents. I cheered for you when you saved a goal.

AND, “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly” is a story you emailed me, and I let the message sit in my inbox for six months. I once cried on the phone for 20 minutes while you went on about whatever frat party you went to last Saturday. Our old friends hated us for only hanging out with each other. You said you kissed some random guy on the baseball team. I wish you wouldn’t pity Retweet me.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m happy for you and want to know about your new life. I just wish you had held the door for me that time I was on crutches and you let the door slam closed. You were not being intentionally rude. I was being intentionally angry.

I was waiting for the “right time” to read it. You just couldn’t hear me.

I wish we were home. And by home, I mean on your bed in your house watching “Entourage,” eating chips and salsa, the remnants of which we will leave by the side of your bed until tomorrow night when, opening the cabinets in your kitchen, we realize you don’t have any more clean bowls.

I love your mugs that look like they come from a diner. You love when I drive because you know I don’t mind if you fall asleep. I try to remember that Ryan is the one hooking up with Bailey, who is Maddie’s roommate, with whom you went on the camping trip. I’m sorry I’m so sullen, so often. I never get as mad at you as I should. I try to get mad to teach you a lesson you never learn. 

You told me to play “Till I Collapse” in the car on the drive back from Atlantic City because you knew you were too tired to stay awake on your own because the drive was so smooth and the Pine Barrens were so dark. You texted me tonight; “hello. tell me about ur day. : ] ” You passed me handfuls of trail mix, and when we hit bumps in the road, I dropped peanuts on the floor of my car that I never picked up. I wish the Blue Rooster hadn’t closed. My parents made me pay to get my car cleaned this fall. We never got to order the cheese platter.

I’m sorry I spilled coffee all over your white Converse and shrunk your grey sweater in the dryer. You’re sorry we never kayaked or hiked in the mountains near Dani’s house in Vermont. On graduation day, you woke up late. I drove to your house, and in your driveway, we sat laughing in my car. Choking on air, face soaked with tears, yelling over “Tiny Dancer” being played at full volume, you asked, “Do you want to go to Wendy’s later?”