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Guys I lived with at summer camp.

The guys who were my roommates or my friends or my family in college.

The guy I lived with when I first moved to the city who introduced me to great friends, insisted we always go out, and made me feel smart and confident and funny because he was a good guy, not because I actually was.

Guys who made me feel like “one of the guys.”


The friend who slept with the girl that I had a crush on so I didn’t answer his last email.

The friend who asked to get coffee, and I said I’d check my schedule, but I never got back to them.

The friend who reached out and said he lived in the city and all I said in response was “let me know if you wanna grab a drink sometime,” as if I didn’t.

The friends who didn’t get back to me, but I’m sure it was something they felt guilty about.

The writer who said I should send him what I’m working on, but I never did.

The writer who I used to exchange stories with for comments.

The writer who I thought I was, but now I’m not certain because certainty is harder in the momentum of life.

Any writer even if I don’t know you.

The neighbor who used to say hi all the time until I called them the wrong name once and now they ignore me.

The neighbor who is scared of dogs and only sees me when I’m walking mine.

The neighbor who I had a nice conversation with one day but avoids me, and I wonder if I said something wrong or came off as weird or a creep.

The neighbor whose newspaper I stole.

The former colleagues I thought were smarter than me.

The former colleagues whose careers went places.

The former colleagues who were not very interesting but maybe I judged them too early.

The former colleagues that always paid for my drinks.

The people I used to play sports with.

The people I used to run with.

The people who were athletic and made me want to be athletic even though I prefer my couch and a book and maybe some TV.

The people who CrossFit now, and I don’t know what to do about friends who join cults so I do nothing.

People I can’t sustain a conversation with at a party but whom I think are cool.

People I’m afraid to say anything to for fear I’ll screw everything up.

People that know way more about music than I do and I think that’s cool even if I don’t know anything about music.

People that sat at the cool kids’ table.

Facebook friends who haven’t liked anything I’ve posted in a while.

Facebook friends who I used to get into poke wars with, but now that’s not a thing.

Facebook friends who aren’t really close friends, but I always consider writing a birthday message to when I get the notification, but lose steam because coming up with a birthday message for someone you haven’t talked to in a while is hard and stressful and I could waste my time elsewhere on the internet. Or just write HBD.

Friends not on Facebook.

My best friends from high school.

My best friends from grad school

My aunt that I see once every five years or so who claims she didn’t vote for Trump but then defends family separation, celebrates the defunding of public schools, and attacks Walgreens for adopting a transgender-inclusive bathroom policy. But she’d never vote for Trump, she says, because he’s too orange.

The American people.

Thomas Viehe

Thomas Viehe prefers pop over soda, loo over toilet, fall over autumn. He lives with his wife and dog in a remote part of the country, Washington, D.C.

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