As bleak as things seemed, I was determined to fix the situation. At least to try earnestly, anyway. If I wanted to make a friend outside my current friend set, I was going to go out and make it happen. Too many years of my life had already been lost reconciling to awful situations under the blanket excuse: “But I’m incapable of doing anything about it!”
I made it a point to put myself out there more. I’d done it once before, and that resulted in Stacey now sharing my bed. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? And so, repressing all social anxiety and other introverted tendencies, I started showing up at all parties I was invited to. I consciously attempted to talk to people I didn’t already know.
It’s on one such evening that I met Alicia. I noticed her early on, hanging out at the kitchen, effortlessly flitting in and out of conversations with different groups. She seemed interesting, and her eager smile made her approachable. I don’t recall how it happened, but soon enough I was talking to her friend beside her, and a short while later, I was talking to Alicia. Our conversation lasted well into the night, even as the party had long since thinned out. We talked about ourselves and travels and dreams, but more importantly, and for the longest time, feelings and relationships.
Alicia was gentle, open, opinionated, young (though mature beyond her years), and you know the strangest thing? I greatly enjoyed talking to her though I wasn’t attracted to her. She was perfect. I’d found the first of my friends outside my current circle, and I didn’t want to lose her. By the end of the evening, I did something I hadn’t ever done before: exchanging contact information with a perfect stranger.
(At this point, there are a few directions I could take this story. For now, I think I will jump over crucial details and just complete this primary tale, leaving the other threads for subsequent entries.)
Even though Alicia has been remarkably busy finishing her M.A. and holding onto a couple of jobs at the university, I’ve got to spend a lot of time with her since we first met at this party. We’ve gotten closer over long evenings of good food and deep conversation. I enjoy her company and her view of the world. And each additional perspective helps me make a bit more sense out of life.