ON FRIDAY NIGHT when my orchestra friends (orchedorks) were walking to the bus that would take us back home from rehearsal, two of them, Kay and Arthur, were holding hands and giggling, as if they’ve been dating for a day, not for over half a year.
Orchedorks communicate almost solely through jabs. “Too bad Kaitlyn’s boyfriend doesn’t play an instrument,” Arthur said to the girl beside me. Kay saw me smirk. “Too bad Michele’s boyfriend doesn’t play an instrument!” she exclaimed.
It was hilarious because I’m single. I’m so used to this pointless banter that I didn’t even hesitate with my comeback: “Whatever, Kay! I’m dating myself.”
“You tell ’em, Michele!” Kaitlyn cheered.
I extended the comeback by describing my superior date nights–namely, CBS Elementary and Chill with a frosty bottle of Peach Snapple.
We all had a good laugh about that; then we boarded the bus. I sat beside Kaitlyn, suddenly quiet with a look on my face that indicated I’d lapsed into deep thought. She waited for me to finish cogitating.
“I was joking, but I think that I really am dating myself,” I said.
“I think you are, too,” she replied, equally as serious.
“Like, especially with this whole college application process.” I had told her earlier that universities’ point-blank questions could trigger an identity crisis or two.
“That’s good! I think that’s one of its purposes.”
“Eh. Some say that it’s more about advertising yourself.”
“That’s part of it, I guess.”
I thought about the hours I’ve spent recently writing about myself, filling up journals, and searching for a yearbook quote that reflects me. I thought about that really good week in October when I felt so acutely aware of myself in a positive way. It was perhaps the first time the first prolonged period of self-love I have ever experienced.
I opened up the Camera Roll in my phone and said, “Kaitlyn, look at this picture of my girlfriend!” She looked. It was a selfie of me.
“I love it when you use that emoji! It’s so sassy.”
“I know! Pink-shirt-emoji-girl is my favorite.”