One thing I remember is that we were riding around in your car. Was I in the front seat? I think I was, which would mean it was just the two of us, because if there was anybody else I was in the back seat. I think this is true, that I was consistently relegated, though that seems cruel and deliberate which you really weren't, so maybe I was in the front seat and somebody else was in back. Anyway maybe we were alone, maybe we weren't, maybe I was in the back seat. This is when I felt myself somehow at the lower outer edges of your circle, but increasingly in my own independent circle almost everywhere else. I felt like belonging in your group excused me from trying to belong anywhere else. It was remarkably freeing when I was anywhere except with you. Gosh I loved you, or loved isn't quite right. Admired? Aspired. Loved though, too, in retrospect, knowing what I know now of myself and of you and of love. Anyway we were in your car. At the time we all shaved our eyebrows, I thought it was... a thing we did. Like piercing our ears multiple times, shaving parts of our hair was just like, an extension or an exaggeration of what other people did. Everybody had their ears pierced once and we had once and more; everybody shaved their legs and we shaved our legs and eyebrows. Etc. I thought it was just a thing. And then in the car you turned to me... at a stoplight, I guess. I had the full force of your attention for a moment. You turned to me -- sideways if I was in the front seat, or looking over your shoulder if I was in the backseat, diagonal from you. Does it matter if there was anyone else? It's mostly that the shame I remember makes me think there were witnesses. You looked at me fully and said my name, the name I used then, and said "stop shaving your eyebrows, you look ridiculous." It is interesting to me how in so many of my memories, when I remember them I fully inhabit them. I can inhabit this memory too: the hot flush that starts at my collarbone and creeps up my neck, cheeks red, all the piercings in my ears burning. Eyes stinging with tears. The full realization that the group I thought I was in... I wasn't in, after all. The feeling of loss when you lose a balloon, when your beloved suddenly lifts from your hand and escapes your grasp forever. At the same time, I associate this memory with a feeling of freedom: I am also the balloon; I am set free. And interestingly now, increasingly, I see this memory through your eyes. I would be kinder, I like to think I would be kinder; I'm also a lifetime older than you were then. But in that moment you turned to me, this person who would have died for you, and shoved me away: be yourself; live for yourself. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, about how to tell someone that their hunger, their visible ravenous hunger, is the thing that keeps them from being fed. That their need to belong is what holds them back from belonging. I know that I have tried to love people I didn't love because there was a girl in a car seat with bald eyebrows who just wanted to be loved. In a way, looking back, knowing what I know, what you did was love. And looking back, in a way I'm grateful. Although you also looked ridiculous, to be honest. And knowing what I know now, also wanted very much to be loved.