Tyler and Zac stood across the room, chatting up Nicole and Allie. The repartee seemed to be going well as all involved were obviously experts in the art of flirting. With Tyler, it had been practiced and perfected, but Zac was a natural, hardly aware of his effect on the two ladies. Nicole and Allie had grown up together, developing the kind of love-hate relationship that comes when two women love admiration and attention from others as much as they love each other.
In another corner, the Linda-s and Jessica-s talked animatedly about something concerning which they were clearly connoisseurs.
A few steps away from me stood the Erin-s, Ben-s, Nathan-s, and my sister, Holly – the computer and/or Asian studies gurus.
Aside from Holly, I didn’t know squat about anyone present. I had tagged along to her college social event for personal amusement – an amusement that had, in this particular context, surprisingly little to do with actually meeting or speaking to anyone.
My eyes continued their zigzagging path around the room, assigning names, personalities, conversations, and background stories to those present. As long as this game maintained its presence in the realm of fiction, I thought it to be relatively harmless. As long as reality didn’t burst in…
“Sheryl, come here. I want you to meet my friends.”
“Sheryl, this is one of my best friends, Kimberly. She works at the library and has been to Japan!”
“Hello, Erin was it? Nice to meet you.”
“Um… it’s Kimberly actually.”
“This is Zac. He’s in charge of the computer networking at the school.”
Well that name obviously doesn’t fit.
“This is Dan. He introduced me to aikido.”
I’m so confuddled. He really looks like a Nathan. Dan-s don’t do aikido.
Reality – come on Sheryl, pay attention; get out of fiction-land.
Holly is giving me an amused, knowing look.
I force my attention back to Erin, er…whatever that girl’s real name is. She has thick, curly brown hair with green eyes that are as active as the Japanese Anime cartoons she probably watches.
“So… when were you in Japan?” I try to draw out the beginning, hoping to make it less obvious that after being told twice, I still can’t remember her real name and still think the name I’m giving her is better suited.
I manage to listen to her answer and make some kind of response before getting side-tracked by the sunset and landscape outside – wondering if there is any possible way that glorious scene could be even moderately described.
“Umm… sorry,” interrupts Erin…uh, that girl. “Your name is Sheryl? No offense, but you don’t seem like a Sheryl.”
I think I found a real friend… if I can only manage to remember her real name.
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