Now looking back on it all, it seems like I had learned everything I needed to know about life by the time I was sixteen. The problem was, I somehow forgot it all. Maybe if I could explain it to someone else; capture it all this way, and keep it folded up, filed away in a corner of my mind, I could keep from having to repeat the same mistakes.

There was drama, there was conflict... but for the most part, I was incredibly happy. I was happy because I had my friends, and I had love.

But high school ended, one day at a time. Months and years passed, and I grew more distant from each of my friends. Various people flew in and out of my life. I lost some friends to distance, some to circumstance. Mostly, they just drifted away from me, toward their own lives. A few of these people are still in my life, and I'm very lucky, because not everyone still has a friend who knew them when they were seventeen.

It wasn't exactly knowledge I had back then. It was just the sort of naïve wisdom that comes from growing up with people, having their lives become entwined in yours. And then one day, you realize that, even though in some ways, you're still connected, in another way, all the strings have been cut. I still love those people, who helped me define myself, but... it isn't the same. Everything is probably just as it should be, and yet... it can never be the way it was then.

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