My friends make me, no matter how I deny it. Some parts of me, some of my multitudes, are shaped by their characteristics, behaviors, and mannerisms. I noticed this one day when I spoke to the cashier at Dunkin’ Donuts the way my other friend would: a polite tone at the end of a sentence, but a firm and resolute strain in the voice that signals that matters are to be taken seriously. I love it, it’s as though I’m constantly carrying a piece of my friends with me.

The conversations I have with my friend C always touch on heartbreak and the nature of relationships. I was always one to demonstrate my feelings by way of “I feel…” and she’s one to listen, to give knowing nods, sometimes involving a bright-eyed blink, and an affirmative finger point. Thankfully, when we met one night to talk about our emotions, I’d read enough Roland Barthes to think and rationalize. Maybe I’m entranced by how Barthes so richly writes about love, pain, and absence in A Lover’s Discourse, or maybe I’m way too intoxicated by dreams of a boy from high school, but I am thankful for the way I talk about my feelings now. I’m racing through the pathways of my brain trying to find absolution, sometimes resolution, and doing so pragmatically.

My friends make me, and so do the books I read. ♦