Disclaimer: Identifying details of those discussed in this piece have been changed to protect their privacy.
I moved to Ann Arbor for the first time on Aug. 31, 2017, but the city was already familiar to me from my consistent visits for years prior. The day after I moved in, I went to my first party with my childhood best friend. I met her that night. Her eyes, light brown like caramel, and freckles dotted across her face. Despite my many visits to the city in the summer, I wondered how I could have missed her before. Why was I so drawn to her? Why did I want to say hello to someone I barely knew whenever I bumped into her on campus? The only answer that my mind could come up with was simple: She’s a cool girl, and I want to be her friend.
Another night after a different party, she sat across from me. I smiled and she smiled back. One of the first things I noticed about her was her tattoos. She was a canvas with beautiful art. I recall my intoxicated self showing her all the tattoos I had at the time after she had asked about them, but the conversation was cut short by one of her friends who asked us to join the blunt rotation outside.
Soon after, her presence was hard to miss. Everywhere I looked, there she was — light brown eyes like caramel and freckles across her face forming my new favorite constellation.
Months went by, and I only saw her around campus when she was on her way to class or at some Friday night party, which was suddenly made a million times better by her presence. Months went by, and nights of snuggling together in a dark corner, shouting over the loud music with a red cup in hand were our main form of contact. A few months later we were kissing — why am I kissing her? She’s just a cool girl, and I want to be her friend.
I got to know her a little better, her likes and dislikes. She found beauty in everything — things I wouldn’t even spare a second glance at — like the colors of traffic lights at night. I even slept at her residence hall several times, falling asleep to the constellations on her face. She’s more than just a cool girl, and I don’t know if I want to be just her friend.
Then she was gone. She was hard to come across in the winter months. And just like she disappeared, three months later she came back with the spring. This time around, she gave me her number and we talked every day. My art fascinated her; she fascinated me. We would lay side-by-side on my twin-sized bed while we listened to The Weeknd’s “Trilogy” album and shared our deepest secrets.
She’s more than just a cool girl, and I really like her. Wait, what? I like her? I like a girl.
Not long after, she began to fade from my life like a morning dream. Her response time went from a minute to a couple of hours to days until she stopped responding completely. She confused me, but I let her be. I wouldn’t be surprised if the countless hours we spent laying next to each other, the countless hours we spent talking on the phone and the countless hours we spent walking late at night meant nothing to her. It wasn’t something I was unfamiliar with. Because he had shown me that you can say that someone is dear to you and still not care for them. It was okay though. I had learned something new about myself – something important and perhaps life-changing.
She was just a girl, and I did not care to be her friend even though she will always have a small piece of me.
MiC Columnist Daniela Lugo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.