Affection

There are little things I do to show that I like people. I don’t mean like in a sixth grade way, I mean like in a general, broad spectrum of affectionate feelings. I like my roommates. I like my parents. I like that boy who never says quite enough. I like that girl who smiles at me like I’m special. I probably even like your mom.

I sign e-mails. I have an automatic signature that puts itself at the bottom of the total message. When I like someone, I type out my valediction. “F-a-i-t-h-f-u-l-l-y space y-o-u-r-s comma,” my fingers go, as though to say “you are worth something to me. You are worth the partial seconds it takes to type up a closing.

I say I live in Somerville, Camberville, or Somerbridge. Normally, I say I live in Boston, that I’m from PA. When I talk to someone who I like, I tell them where I really live, where I’m really from. I take what is necessary to explain to them the truth of where I live, rather than the brief, quick summary everyone understands. Boston. In one sense, I understand how all the people from Bryn Mawr and New Hope felt when they said “I’m from Philadelphia”–it’s easier. In another, I get mad at myself for doing something that bothered me, but I justify my action through the urban sprawl that connects Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston.

I call people by their full name or some part of their name other people aren’t wont to use. In watching the X-Files as a kid, I loved when Scully would call Mulder. He would answer and she would say “it’s me.” I love the idea that to someone you could say “it’s me” and they know who you are. I like the idea of someone knowing it’s me just by what I call them. I used to think this was about some sort of ownership, an idea that bothered me in some way. Now, I think it’s about forging a connection and letting them know that, to me, there’s something special about them.

I think about them. This seems obvious, but it’s about a general understanding of their existence. When I like someone, they become real to me. I understand in a visceral that they exist outside of when I see them or interact with them. Sometimes, I think about them. I don’t think about things in specific, but just them.

Conceptually, I know this isn’t special. Not really. Everyone does things differently for people they like. Statistically, doctors have been shown to play favorites. Teachers have students they like more than others. The idea of preforming actions unique to a subset of people is assumed among individuals. I guess I’m just thinking about it now, as I type up lots of e-mails to people, slowly signing every one “F-a-i-t-h-f-u-l-l-y space y-o-u-r-s comma, m full stop.”

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