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Of course, this sort of thing happens all the time to Other People.

Sometimes I think my life is not made of of chapters, but of separate books that overlap, none of them finished.

Joan was one such book. Hell, she was an entire saga. Norse bards could have sung about her in their longhouses. But I digress.

I met her at the christmas party Hugo was putting on for just a couple of friends all of whom brought a couple of friends, so there were about 50 people there overall, most of them intoxicated somewhat, on something. Daniel, George, Jess and I were sitting on his couch with a Moosehead each, working out the mysteries of the universe.

We were really fighting about who would be the next person to get up and fetch more beer. We're lazy when tipsy. Anyways.

Johnson showed up around 11. He's, umm, not a nice guy, but the sort who thinks everyone likes him. He doesn't walk, he struts. He challenges everyone to fights. He pretends he deals to impress girls. Which all wouldn't be so awful, but he's 5 foot even, 150 pounds, and very, very white. You might not have picked up on this yet, but I really don't like him.

But I like his taste in women, which brings us to Joan. He came in with her on his arm, which didn't really work, since she told him to let go of her the second we said hi. I guess he just wanted to look cool with his new girl. I suppose she's just one of four women who have fallen for Johnson's faux-gangster style, but I can forgive her for that.

I can forgive her for anything.

But I'm getting off topic. The point is, the first thing she did was sit down and start talking. I don't like people who can't shut up. But we didn't know this girl, we didn't understand her, but we liked her. She said some brilliant things about the state of the world, in words that actually made sense to our tipsy semiprep brains. She even made Johnson get the beer.

And just like that, I was hooked.

Fast forward to a few hours later. We'd been talking nonstop since 11, and my throat hurt. I'd sobered up, maybe from Joan's sheer rush of coherent sentience (which is rare at my high school). The drunks had stumbled forth into the night, and it was just me, her, Daniel and Jess sitting around the fireplace with mugs of Irish hot chocolate. The topic of conversation had shifted to Johnson, and I could tell they wouldn't be together long. For one thing, he called her immature. For another, half an hour later, he forgot about her and left with George to "kill some sign... signposts, man". Real mature.

She's scintillating even when she's bitching.

Again, fast forward. It was almost dawn, and I was thinking of doing some stumbling forth of my own. Joan, working on her theory "I'm Going To Do Whatever The Fuck I Want And That Bitchface Can't Stop Me", decided she wants to come with. Now, this was an issue. Our mutual friend Johnson is a jealous man, and given to easy exchanges of fisticuffs. Though we were both sort of smashed, in the morning she would remember her promise to break up with him, and when he found out I was with her that night, he tried to hurt me. Not that he succeeded.

Fuck him. I'd take a train for her.

I knew nothing could come of this. I'm a person who always looks to the long term, and it was the christmas break of the last year of high school. I was moving to Montreal that summer, and the long distance thing doesn't work- trust me. It's happened before, with Sarah. But that didn't deter her. Joan is a very short-term person.

Nothing happened between us. Ever. I fell for her that first night and haven't had the courage to spend any time with her. Joan and Johnson got back together quickly, and though we still converse occasionally, we don't have conversations anymore. I don't really miss her, I miss what could've been. It's one of the problems with a long-term view. There are many, but my inability to live in the moment is the biggest I've yet encountered.

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