I encountered you like a reverse-motion house on fire, pouring into you the most intimate details of my life, all underpinned by this mysterious sick past that you had never glimpsed and had no conception of. It’s still the reference point for how we know each other, the sound under the conversation about organs, the thread that ties things together, a code language.

The push and pull of talk, between the deadened sadness and unjustified giddiness, drove one conversation to the next, each playing on repeat as emails binged into my inbox, giving shape to days and then weeks and then whole sections of my life. Something about it felt like an escape, which at face value is an odd thing to say about so many conversations about sadness and anxiety. But the reason these conversations seemed to act as an opening of a pressure valve on my slow leaky heart is that it’s about sadness rather than grief. My friendship with you is the difference between the two, the luxury of sadness versus the hard edges of grief. Sadness often acts as a temporary escape from grief. It is a reckless, obliterative escape from the larger griefs of the world, focusing in on the overwhelming, petty, selfish concerns of the privileged heart. But it was easy to and fun to make jokes about everything. Our talk was enjoyable, squishy, and opulent in all my bad-hearted moping.