On Sunday morning, I tried to read the texts I’d received throughout the night, but my phone wouldn’t respond. I panicked, pushing all the buttons again and again, turned the phone on and off, pushed more buttons, and slowly resigned myself to the reality that all my phone will ever let me do anymore is scroll through my contacts. I emailed my parents, and they told me that since I’ve had my phone for so long, I can basically get a new iPhone for free.

The sales representative asked if I wanted to transfer my contacts while he pushed a bunch of keys on the new phone. I thought about the phone numbers I have written down on a notecard on my desk: It has all the numbers I dial a lot, plus a few I didn’t feel like I had the right to call but did anyway. If I said no to this transfer, all I’d have were the numbers on that card.

“Um, like, I don’t know—I, like, probably have what I need I guess. Sorry?”

“It’ll take no time at all.”

My mind started spiraling. Should I take the transfer? I wondered. Did I even want to talk to any of the other people on my contacts list? Most of them were people I only know because we did an English project together, or because they used their ID to get me a drink, or because we were friends in 10th grade, when I got the phone.

“Dude,” the guy says, “it’s not a big deal.”

“NO. I don’t want it…I don’t want to. I’m sorry.”

So now I have an iPhone, and my brother’s texts come in gray bubbles of varying sizes instead of uniform white boxes. When I read my brother’s texts on my old phone, I could hear his voice in my head, but I can’t do that with the gray bubbles. We haven’t texted as much since I got the new phone.

My world is small right now, and it feels weird. I feel unsure about how I act around people. Even though I should be freaking out that I’m still behind in my schoolwork and my mind feels like hot wet cotton from spending long stretches of time trying to speed-read books (and then using Spark Notes anyway because I read too fast to retain anything), I freaked out about the new phone more. It’s just this stupid, obvious metaphor for moving to a strange place and having to let go of your old life and the relationships that used to define you, and replacing them all with something new.

I hate that my family will read this and think that I’m a total negative bummer zone. This is just what being in a new place for the second year in a row feels like. Everything’s cool—it just takes time. ♦