Fair-Weather Friends

Over the summer, we were closer than we are now.

The late nights drinking and talking spilled out onto the street in a search for greasy cheap Mexican food, and if you had told me then that our relationship was weather-dependent, I don’t think that I would have believed you. But now that it’s colder, we see each other less. How much of our life would be different if the seasons were changed, if it was warmer for longer and it never got cold?

In cold weather, space matters more than it does when you can sit comfortably outside for hours. If it was warm now, we could meet at the river, and that could be our spot still -- we could sit there and talk like we did over the summer. Now, we need to be inside, constrained on all sides by walls and pipes and heating vents, and if the place you choose to contain yourself is not the same as the place that I choose, our odds plummet at having another one of the chance encounters we had grown so accustomed to in July.

And how could I invite you to sit in the same room as me, if that’s not the way it was before? I sit on a bench, with a pipe and a book, expecting to see you without letting it show, and sooner or later, you would make yourself known, like you always did before.

There are so many reasons for why it might be different now, and I think about them often, running them through over and over again until they become numb and rote. You could be temporarily focused on other things and plan on returning to the bench when your mind is freer and the weather permits; you could have taken offense at some inane comment I made and never told me; you could have changed phone numbers; you might not feel welcome in the spaces that I go to escape the cold, public space absent and private space by its very nature exclusionary and limiting; you could have always just preferred the physical location of the bench to its frequent occupants; you could have a relationship now, of the type that’s exclusive and limiting; you might have forgotten about me. An anxious hamster-wheel in my mind, running without stopping to let me catch my breath.

I wait for the change of the seasons with bated breath, afraid that exhaling might let it all pass so soon that I’ll miss it entirely.

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