one year or two? that's all i could think, as steve and tonia discussed the meaning of life.

"are we boring you?" they asked.

"no, no, i'm just listening," i said, and i stared blankly at the depths of my hot chocolate and tried to trace back to the last time i was there at the bourgeois pig, sitting across from jacob for the first time.

it seemed like just yesterday, but don't memories always? it was still so vivid, everything. walking up nervously to the coffeehouse, looking past every head to find his wavy red hair. ordering a cup of tea, but getting a pot and having to get up to go to the bathroom every ten minutes. and then seeing him walk up to me and smile, that smile, god that smile.

we sat across from each other on torn, red, velveteen couches in the very back corner. he kept staring at me, staring right through me and it made me so self-conscious.

"what are you looking at?" i'd ask, defensively.

"you," he'd say, just grinning. and i would blush.

we talked for hours. literally hours, even if i couldn't stay out too late, even if i knew there would be many more nights like that in the future, and there were. when we finally decided to go, we walked down the dim street, side by side, not touching at all. and then i bumped into him just lightly. a few more steps and i bumped into him again, but this time on purpose, because i wanted to feel him beside me.

he walked me to my car and turned to me and just swallowed me in a hug, like i was the most precious thing in the world, like he was simply unable to let go. but eventually he did.

a month later and he moved away. two months more and he stopped calling. a year passed and he'd moved back. a couple months ago we saw each other, and everything had changed.

my mug was empty, and they were still talking. i had no idea what about, but i looked up and nodded knowingly to feign interest.

"feel free to jump in any time here," steve said.

"it's been one year since i've been here," i said, "but it looks exactly the same as i remember it."

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