Hugs that last more than 10 seconds

I’m sitting in the center of the courtyard at Alta alone with my computer. 
In front of me to my left is a date. They’re talking about his dog and the surgery the dog is recovering from. Sounds like the dog is going to be ok. 
Behind me to my left is a group of friends. I heard the word ‘colleague’ but that’s all I know because they’re just out of earshot and speaking softly. Which I respect. 
Lined against the fence to my right are medium sized groups of high school students. Really young, good looking high school students gathered probably from Harbor or CDM. A few trickle in and trickle out at a time and every time someone does, they all stand up and hug each other. A lot. If I didn’t know school were already in session, these hugs would imply that they have been through so much together, like a war or a summer camp of intense emotional bonding and were then immediately torn apart from each other, separated by galaxies for decades. These are the kinds of hugs that are being exchanged. But I’m pretty sure they probably last saw each other on Friday. I’m judging them a little bit for this. Kind of like I did when I was in high school and sitting at this same table, surrounded by these same groups of high schoolers, giving each other the same hugs and me feeling simultaneously intimidated and superior. 
By the way, I had forgotten how good looking teenage boys the Newport Mesa school district can be. Go with me here. I’m speaking from a completely observational, completely uninterested point of view, but seriously. They’re tan probably from water polo or surfing all time and their trendy moms are still buying them cool clothes and they have yet to hit college and be swallowed by frat culture where they’ll gain 25-30 pounds and not drink enough water. They have no idea what’s coming and a little bit of me wants to go over and tell them. Not to warn them. But more to rub it in their faces. After typing that sentence, it’s clear to me now that I may still be holding onto a bit of resentment from high school. Let it go, Julia, you nerd lite, you.
(The girls are all wearing very short cut off jean shorts. If anything, I’m wondering more about how they aren’t freezing– besides the fact that they’re butt cheeks are hanging out. That’s for their mother’s to deal with.)
(Maybe that’s why I didn’t have a boyfriend in high school? I was never willing to be cold in order for  them (boys) to see more body parts of mine.)
(Maybe that’s why I don’t have a boyfriend now.)
Case in point: I’m wearing black jeans, the red plaid shirt I stole from my mom during high school and birkenstocks. Comfort clothes. My toes are just barely cold, which I kind of love because it means that we might be sliding into California Autumn. Which doesn’t mean much more than barely cold toes. 
I’m confused about a lot of things right now, but when I got home from Charlotte this weekend, I knew I wanted to blog. On Friday, I got such an encouraging email from a new friend that made me realize what a treasure this space is and how, of all times, this is the time for me to take advantage of it. 
“Can I just move to Maine and make wedding dresses and listen to James Taylor all day?” Something that I wrote in a journal a year ago yesterday. Maine. My idealized haven of autumnal colors, fresh seafood and solitude. When I catch myself thinking about moving to Maine a lot, I know that I’m probably avoiding dealing with something. And I’ve been thinking about Maine a lot lately. Wouldn’t it just be so easy to move to Maine and work at a coffee shop that affords me to live in a small, uninsulated apartment in the backyard of an older couple’s white sided house. I would paint the door yellow and I’d dye my hair black, not because I’m depressed or anything but because I’d think it would match with the weather better than any other color of hair. I’d wear two sweaters at once and I wouldn’t have a lot of friends. I would be lonely, but I’d have a lot of time to cook and finally become someone who reads a lot instead of just lying to people and saying that I read a lot. Which is what I do now. Maybe I’d meet a nice, slightly round butcher and we wouldn’t ever go on a date, but we’d flirt while discussing beef tips or something. 
The hardest thing about moving home: feeling perpetually lonely and also wanting to just be alone as much as possible. I feel angsty in such a cliche, post college way that it’s almost embarrassing, but it’s not fake to me. It’s totally real. And I hesitate to even admit it because I can hear the “I told you so” from states away. But it really is real and I don’t feel like people are getting that. My mind immediately compares this feeling to that thing when the crazy person is sitting in the mental hospital and is looking around at all the doctors and nurses and other patients and thinking to themselves “They’re the crazy ones. Not me.” So I get it. I get that you’re reading this with a little bit of that thing that you’re reading this with. A small smirk on your face and maybe thinking about how you felt the same way when you graduated college or how naive I am to even begin to allow myself to think that my life is hard. Or maybe you aren’t and you get it and you don’t think I’m being dramatic at all in which case please mail me an anonymous letter in my mail box with your favorite word and a drawing of you and me. 
The styling internship is maybe ending soon. I can’t afford to work for free. Also, it’s depressing to work for free. But I’m starting another job on Wednesday in Costa Mesa with a hair and makeup artist as her administrative assistant. I’m excited about it. 
2035 self: you’re reading this and wondering why things sound so bleak for us 3 days after turning 23. life definitely does not suck. but it’s definitely playing tricks on us. 
and we are still like super, super single. 

3 thoughts on “Hugs that last more than 10 seconds

  1. Aunt Sue's ever so wise advice (or not so wise)….Start each day with a sense of wonder, make a decision and if it doesn't work out, make another decision. Love you!

  2. Glad to call you a new friend! And sorry about the last message because it was super whiny and probably not the best thing to send to someone you've only written to once. Eh, I was having a bad week. Anyway.

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