A completely true story:

I was at my university, walking from class back to my room. It was 10:30 at night. There weren’t very many people out. The air was misty, so every streetlight had a large, bright halo. Quite a lovely evening.

As I neared the place where I had to turn off of the main road and take the smaller path to my dormitory, I saw four people standing on the corner in a circle, holding hands. Four young men about my age, seemingly completely sober, holding hands in a circle. “What are you doing?” I asked, as affably as I could. I was very curious.

“Well, we’re each headed toward different parts of campus, so we’re bidding farewell to one another for the evening,” said one. “You can stand in the middle!” said another. Honestly, they were not drunk.

I ducked under their arms and stood in the center. They seemed as though they would appreciate a bit of added theatrics, so I raised my hands in a benedictory fashion: “May each of us have a blessed night, and meet again in harmony,” I said, turning around slowly. “Good night.” I was smiling widely throughout, but I think that was fine. “Good night,” they each said, one at a time, to one another and to me.

Then they broke up the circle, and sure enough, they each went in a different direction. I went back to my room with renewed faith in people; after all, if four friends and a complete stranger can conduct a hilariously melodramatic farewell ritual on the spur of the moment, there must be a fair number of people left in the world whose souls are full of good things like aesthetics and whimsy and confidence. I haven’t seen any of those guys since. But if I did, I’d thank them for a singular experience.

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