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Meeting Strangers

Plan: fly from LAX to Baltimore, then to DC.

I took two flights.

Uber to LAX. $42

Flight one: LAX to Houston, Texas.

Flight two: Houston, Texas to Baltimore, Maryland.

Arrived in Baltimore – BWI.

Take the shuttle from the airport to the rail station. FREE

Buy a ticket for the train. They call it the MARC. $7.00.

Take the MARC into Washington, DC and arrive at Union Station.

At Union Station, take an Uber to my friends place. $12

Meeting a woman from England who was on both flights sitting across from me and again at the train station: PRICELESS.

Wish I caught her name.

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Stardust

Think of life within the confines of space. Much of it goes unexplored and there’s only so much one can see — either from a telescope or atop a mountain. There are billions of stars out there and you’re one of them. You’re hurling towards the emptiness of space and sometimes alone. On some years, something amazing happens. Another shooting star crosses paths with you. The stars align and the universe is in your favor. For that very brief moment, you meet someone very special. You are no longer alone.

The forces of gravity lock you in and you two are now intertwined. Whether it’s at the speed of light or something faster, you two are inseparable. You now go exploring the outer reaches of space as two. Cosmic. It’s an interstellar voyage into the unknown. Everything you do and see in this time feels new because it all very much is. Some nights you peer off into the distance and see another attraction on the horizon. Maybe it’s a planet, moon or galaxy — anticipation grows. Excitement is coming. Star-crossed lovers.

Although the memories are new and the excitement grows, space is chaotic. Black holes and quasars lurk everywhere. Space debris is everywhere floating aimlessly. Unfortunately, all hidden away and ready to knock stars out of alignment. The moment comes. A collision of sorts — a black hole rips the two apart. Tragic, yet however unavoidable. Your paths now diverge and grow farther every moment. Gravity is no longer on your side. Just stardust — the memories from days past.

Like most shooting stars, they return after some period of time. Their trajectory is parabolic and will grace the same path once again in the future. Maybe the two will cross paths again, but not for a very long time. It’s an assuring feeling however small the chances. Nothing really ends if you think about it. The stars are endless after all. How alone can space really be?

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santa barbara

Stories from UCSB: A Girl Named Grace

Sometimes you always run into that one girl over and over again for 2 years. But she’s secretly a weirdo.

Isla Vista is a fairly small college town about 2 miles across. If you had a consistent schedule, you may be lucky enough to bump into a friend every week. It was my first year, I was living in Santa Ynez, there was always one quiet and shy girl I saw practically everyday in multiple random classes. Long black hair, glasses, Asian, and slightly above average in height is how’d I best describe her. At first we would exchange awkward glances, which unfortunately morphed into a “what the fuck, you again?” head turn.

You’d think after happening for so long, someone (meaning me) would introduce themselves. But nope. The furthest I spoke to her was one afternoon once my 3rd psychology class for the day was over. I almost made back to my apartment when I turned the corner and BAM. There she was again. Truthfully, this time, I was somewhat startled. I quickly thought to myself and said, “fuck it.”

“Hey, aren’t you in the class I just had? Wasn’t that midterm totally unfair?” I get I have a deep voice, but I completely caught her off guard and practically made her stumble trying to stop. She murmured a response confirming my suspicions and we both quickly evaded.

Fast forward to my last year at UCSB and I’m in Davidson library frantically cramming for a midterm. I get a notification,”You matched on Tinder!” I check to see who and its the same fucking girl. Think of this moment as the ocean tide, the common cold, or those battered spouses in relationships. They always come back.

At this point, I thought this was ridiculous so I did what any guy with a Tinder match would do, but to very suavely chat her up. If you’re think we hit it off got along great, and found a lot in common, you’re way off. She was a totally freakin’ weirdo. She threw a bunch of off comedy one liners and divulged her amazing ability to recite lines from King of the Hill. If there was ever another reason I look the other way when it comes to Asian women, here’s another penny in the jar.

Sometimes chance encounters are just that — chances. Random at that.