Term used to describe how close I keep my few female friends to me, when I can. I don't have many, and there are many reasons for this. To avoid seeming like a male-bashing node or female-bashing tirade, I don't want to go too deep into it at this point.

Instead, I'd like to broaden the topic to people in general and how close we keep them to us for safety, to make us feel less alone. For me, it is mostly compact transportation; I keep them in my heart and in my mind. That's where they're safe, where time and distance and everyday life can't remove them. It's almost as if they lie dormant there, in my memories, and are only tapped when the real thing pops back into view. When I get an email from Evonne telling me that I am missed. When I get to talk to her online or on the phone and our excited voices bump into each other like misguided electrons. Those rare moments where I am sitting out on the front porch or back yard of a friend's house and we are magically recounting our journeys together. When I'm driving to some mundane location and I look over at the passenger seat and see someone there, looking out the same windshield with me.

When those moments are allowed to happen, the dormant versions of them swell and swim around inside me like eggs set to strategically rise to the top of the pot altogether as they become hard-boiled, no longer liquid but real, with real discerned color and shape. Eggs only truly look like eggs when they're hard boiled, so it is no surprise to me that this is my favorite way to eat them.

Then they go back to their world and me to mine and the embrace goodbye is heartfelt, but not tinged with as much a sense of loss as a sense of regaining that dormant post in my mind and heart that they will return one day to reclaim.

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