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A glass shatters and two girls scurry up the stairs and into the street.

The girls are college friends of mine.

At the bar, she kisses him first. Then me.

Caitlin’s drunk enough to justify such a move. Connor is her gay best friend and I’ve never been too sure how much he knows about our past. I assume he knows all of it but we never discuss Caitlin like that. It’s funny how selective friendships can be.

We watch Caitlin dart back to our group of friends.

She’s drunk enough to kiss me, but not enough to play it off as cool. The cool part was kissing Connor first. You don’t draw as much attention kissing me after you kiss the gay guy.

Connor and I move into the crowd when we hear the glass shatter. The two girls running out of the bar are Caitlin and Emily.

The decision to flee is odd.

He shakes his head and lets out a large laugh. It’s clear the girls are done for the night. A girl I only see when there’s a big enough group of us comes and announces she’s taking them home. If it were three years ago, I’d make up an excuse to end my night at Caitlin’s in hopes of spending the next day in bed with her.

I used to feel overwhelmed by the amorphous state that was Caitlin and I, never knowing how serious our relationship was. That’s gone now, for me and for her. In two years she’s married. She gets a new job, travels to London and meets a man. I see the group less and less. There are a handful of nights when Connor and I run into each other and do the thing that people do, discussing other members of the social group that brought us together.

These friendships are different from those you’ve had since youth. These are the friends that emerge at a time of faux adulthood and confused affection. These friendships last, but for reasons better left unsaid. Caitlin will always be my friend.

Connor and I spent the night of my twenty first birthday together. He’s slightly older and no one else was twenty one yet. My girlfriend at the time was jealous of my friendship with him, as if he’d try to turn me. Her annoyance excited me.

After too many drinks, he walked me home, watched me drink a glass of water, then vomit into that same glass. He cleaned me up and we chatted on the couch for an hour while I composed myself before bed.

My relationship with Caitlin was always unclear. With Connor, it was simple.

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