wolves out there.

the last time i saw her, i was in d.c. for the annual americorps conference. she picked me up, along with my then girlfriend and another volunteer, and we drove through the snow to a restaurant downtown. i don't remember much about it. her boyfriend had those big hoops in his ears. i don't know what they were called, but i didn't like them.

mostly, i remember talking about my roommate. i told everyone at the table how he blasted classical music and how his farts were like thunder. his hair would clog the shower drain, and he never flushed his piss. on a special occasion, he even left a huge shit for me. later, my girlfriend told me, "you shouldn't talk about other people like that. it's not very attractive."

the year before that, i made mix cds around christmas time for everyone on the americorps team. my girlfriend looked at the track list i made for naomi. "you've got a crush on her, don't you?" i denied it. "yeah, you do," she said.

to ward off boredom at the office, i used to make comic strips using microsoft paint. i didn't know what to call the comic, so she came up with a name. "kathleen's coffee," she said. and so it was.

after hurricane katrina, i was sitting in the red cross office, and i was in charge of checking people in. right in front of me, melissa told our supervisor that i didn't do something right. it wasn't even a big deal, but she made it out to be, and i felt bad about it. i told naomi what happened. she reassured me that melissa was always doing things like that.

the first time i got a sense of who she was, it was on the first day of americorps. the seven of us sat in the classroom, filled out paperwork. she read aloud all the ridiculous parts. i knew then that this girl was willing to point out the obvious. she called bullshit on the first day, and i had to respect that.

we hung out tonight. it was the first time i'd seen her in over three years. it's weird, how little people change when so much time has passed. it was like when i saw toby for the first time in five years, and it felt like we were picking up on a conversation we left two minutes ago, not five years ago.

what i've come to realize is that there really are very few people i can just feel comfortable around. there are very few people who don't put me on edge, or make me feel like every thing i say has to turn into some kind of argument. i've realized the ones who put me on edge, the ones who constantly feel the need to prove something, those people usually have low self-esteem, and i've since dropped them.

i guess that's what has changed about me in the last few years. i used to be idealistic and think i could get along with just about anybody. but now i know that there are wolves out there, and sometimes it's best to just stay away.

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