I don’t see the Citgo sign as the bus drives into Boston because my attention is on the man sitting next to me.
The bus ride to Boston, once seeming days long, feels short this time. The last time I was in Boston was three months ago – waiting out the tail-end of a doomed relationship, wondering if I had wasted the past year of my life on a boy who never loved me back.
This time, I was with a man who has an uncanny ability to make my heart melt and make me cry of happiness.
Boston was once home. I felt like an imposter, every time I went back after I graduated, clinging onto a city that was not mine. This time, Boston wasn’t home – just an old friend, with memories of joy and laughter and pain and sorrow.
The Whole Foods on Prospect Street is still oddly familiar, even though I had only gone a few times. I can almost taste the pickles we used to get there in my mouth. We don’t go in.
Instead we walk into this adorable little toy shop on the other side of the street. It’s decked out with toys and activity books and I’m sorely tempted to buy something for my little sister, but I decide against it.
I had never been in the shop. I must have walked past it a bunch of times but never noticed it. It’s interesting how you notice new things in an old city when you’re with someone new.
We walk down Cambridge Street. The memories flood back and I am overwhelmed with the joy that I remember feeling here. I used to walk down this street to eat amazing food and to visit friends that I still love.
We walk past the house he used to live in, where he tried something without asking despite being ‘not that kind of guy’. I remember suppressing the emotions and crying to my roommate days later. He doesn’t try it again when I go back.
I go to a part of Boston I had never been, to visit my oldest friend. He asks why we became friends, and we don’t have an answer.
I never took the advice.
I don’t know how I choose my friends – they seem to self-select as time goes by. By some stroke of luck, my closest friends are loving, caring, incredible people who are all a little odd and a little dorky in their own special ways.
My oldest friend is also the nicest person I know. She sees me more clearly than I can see myself. She told me what my biggest weakness was long before I accepted it was true.
I ask her if she approves, later on. I think she does.