"What the fuck do you want?"

"To kick you in the nads, fucker."

We hug. It's been a long time since we've seen each other, and we stand in the train station hugging for a while. Then we all go get drinks, 7 of us, 6 from college plus Ryan's girlfriend. We go to the new place in Dinkytown, the one that should be a lesbian bar but isn't. We sit under the stairs where the draft from the door to Annie's freezes us regularly, but it's private and has enough seats for us. Cold is tolerable sometimes.

We talk about what's going on with us. Everyone except Pete and I are in school or just finishing, law school, grad school, bachelor's. Pete's working on x-ray machines. I can't hold a job and don't have money for school. One of the things this means is that I don't have to buy my own drinks.

Pete tries to convince me to move to Boston. I'm always under pressure to move somewhere, Minneapolis, LA, San Francisco, Detriot, Boston. One of these places is off limits; I'm not moving back to the city where I got shot. Boston's the best possibility, once I get myself figured out, once I get some therapy. It's going to be a while, and I don't want to move there without a job, but I like Boston a lot. They've got good mass transit, real weather, you can hear people speaking languages you can't recognize out in public.

Everyone talks about their personal lives. 4 live with their SOs, 3 of us don't. Justin is in a long distance thing that seems to be working, David's single, and I'm seeing someone here.

It's not a big deal to them that I'm seeing a boy, although I surprised Justin by saying something about being bi. He doesn't identify me like that. Neither do the rest of them, but it's always funnier to me that my ex-boyfriend thinks of me as a lesbian, is better with me just not identifying, which is what I've been doing recently.

Talk turns to physics, discussions of math and law school and what's it good for? Your mom seemed to like it last night. Wise cracks provide a sense of place for those who have no one to insult their mothers regularly.

It's always strange what constitutes home.

We talk about getting the band back together, about the t-shirts, about the drummer, dead of heart failure this summer, about who's doing lead vocals. No one mentions what a great band stereotype it is to have someone die unexpectedly. Instead we talk about some of the people we'd gladly give to have him back, domestic abusers we know, politicians, rich assholes, people who don't have our sympathy. He's still dead at the end of the conversation. We're still learning how to live with it.

More drinks. Justin and I realize we dated and split up 5 years ago, that we were 19 and 22 then. The time is made less because we're still talking to each other, a miracle or maybe evidence of not knowing when to give up. We try to tell each other how we feel, with a lot more success than when we were dating. The message gets through better than it used to. What were we doing going out with each other, he asks. I shrug. Learning how to be friends, maybe, is the only answer I can come up with.