“nice to meet you”

Peyton Young

Ugh, when will the walk signal change? My left sleeve was damp from the rain. Partly because the wind was picking up, and partly because my friend and I were crammed under a flimsy, dollar store umbrella.

The two of us stood with a horde of pedestrians under a dim lamp post, waiting for permission to cross the road. My friend stood to my right, their arm draped around my shoulder. We waited in silence. Not because we lacked things to talk about, but rather we were content — two people huddled together on that stormy evening.

I used the momentary lull to take in my surroundings. Clouds of mist chased cars racing downhill. Traffic signals, car headlights and neon storefronts created a kaleidoscope on the pavement. Scores of people trudged up and down the sidewalks.

And in that moment, although mundane, I was suddenly aware of how …

Oh, thank god. The walk signal finally changed, and we shuffled across the pavement.

I suppose it’s natural to feel nostalgic at the end of the semester, but this spring 2019 semester feels especially sentimental. Perhaps it’s because I’m leaving friends and jobs that have been constants for the past three years. Or because I’m closer to confronting the post-graduation life. Or maybe it’s just because I’m listening to a sad song as I write this.

Whatever the case, I feel like a chapter in my life is ending, and I’m too scared to say goodbye.

We walked another 15 minutes to the apartment block, listening to the murmurs of passersby. When we finally parted ways on the elevator, my friend turned to me and said, “Goodnight, nice to meet you.”

Now this was not our first time meeting, it was probably our hundredth. We were far past the point of using pleasantries such as “nice to meet you.”

But I found the sentiment charming, even if it was a mistake. “Nice to meet you” was less finite. More ambiguous. Candidly optimistic.

That interaction happened about a year ago, but I still think about it today. I’d like to believe that everything happens for a reason and that people are in my life for a purpose. But I think it’s more of a matter of extraordinary circumstance … and maybe I’m just a nihilist.

But out of all the stars and planets and universes, out of all the years in the past and the present and the future, against all the odds, we somehow found each other in that moment. Somehow navigated to the same point in the cosmos to be together. And that’s kind of wonderful.

So to everyone reading this, if you’ve ever been part of my life, no matter how small … I’m glad I found you. It was — and it will be — nice to meet you.