Hello. How are you doing? We never hang out any more. I miss you. I miss us. Everyone’s just so busy, that’s the problem. But we have to make the time. Soon. We should get the whole gang together. We can drink Bloody Marys like we used to and talk about the old times. Do you ever think about the old times?

Do you remember how it used to be when we were together? Once, we drank Bloody Marys together, just the two of us, just the once.

We didn’t have so many commitments then, any of us. So much work, so much keeping up with everyone to do. But we tried harder as well. Let’s not tell ourselves that it was just easy. We used to try, that’s the difference between then and now. One of the differences, I should say. I know there are others.

Now I only ever see you at weddings, haha, it seems like, only at all these weddings, though there can’t be many left now.

Then when will I see you?

When I think of those times, the times when the whole gang was together, this is what I think of:

We’re sitting at some table, the whole group, or some configuration of the group, at one of those countless tables that we sat around and endlessly chattered, as we came together and played games and shared meals and celebrated birthdays, as we drank wine, argued about politics and had falling outs that didn’t matter even as they were happening. And in this aggregate memory of who knows how many nights over the course of, god, it’s upsetting even to guess how many years, what I think of is the two of us. Though we’re not sitting beside each other, maybe we’re even at opposite ends of the table. But something has been said. Or maybe nothing at all. Maybe I’ve just fallen into a pleasant red wine slump of contentment and gratitude, where I’m happy to be in this place with these people, and I’ve looked up and found your eyes already waiting for me. And you smile, and it’s like lying in bed in a stretch of sunlight on a freshly laundered Sunday morning.

I think of those moments, how we’d hold them between us, until the sling of our gaze would pull apart, and the moment would fall.

We knew each other’s thoughts without ever having to speak them. We were just held in the curve of the same wave, and we lived there for years, without ever thinking it was something special. It’s only now that we’ve been carried apart that I realise just how special it was, and I begin to worry that I’ll never have it again.

What do you worry about, I wonder, whenever I take a moment to check on the pixel-thin version of you: the denatured, diminished social media shadow that is all of you that I’ve left myself. That only makes me miss you more.