There's something charming about being in an enclosed space with an unfamiliar person. I don't mean a stranger – I mean someone you know but you've never spoken to more than a dozen times. Someone who doesn't roam your thoughts all that often. Someone who, now that you think about it, you haven't thought about much at all.
For a moment, I felt at the center of a young adult novel: here I am, having hidden myself in the corner of the opera department's costume storage, trying on various skirts and jackets that may or may not reflect the Victorian era – and then I'm told (let's call him John) that John needs to find himself a costume, too. So I get dressed and call out that I'm decent, and go on searching through the clothing racks, boxes, and bins that line the walls as John arrives and begins costume digging himself.
By far, he is one of the most talkative people I've ever met. But he wasn't talking this time. I knew it the moment I read his t-shirt: On Vocal Rest, it said. His mom made it for him, he said. That's brilliant, I thought. Why didn't my mom ever think of that? I proceeded to continue searching through and trying on clothes as he tried on various black capes, vests, and the edgiest fallen angel wings you can envision, whistling whenever he needed to ask me a question via the Notes app on his iPhone 4.
Eventually, I asked if he knew where the light switches were and left before him. It was a long walk down a long hallway, and when I turned to shut the door, we shared a small and silent wave.
Nothing happened. Literally, nothing. But I left feeling happy.
It was as if the simple act of communicating with a person who cannot communicate back with words was a bonding experience. New and unusual enough, it was almost sweet. I'm a loner. I have trouble looking acquaintances in the eye, especially those whom I admire. "Oh, no," I'm always thinking, "they're way too cool for me." So I don't even try, even though I know I should.
I think a part of me just wants to connect, but I fear it still. I imprint on people semi-often. It happens. I actively long for a heroic friendship - the kind that feels like family even though you share no blood. In my dreams, I share the simplest touches with others and remember the closeness of it long after I wake up.
Maybe I'll feel stupid for writing this in a month, or a week, or tomorrow morning when I wake. Maybe I'll realize it was just another dream of closeness - you swear it's reality, but it never existed. Or maybe something new will finally happen. Who knows? That terrifies me.