I listen to “Let Her Go” on repeat on the shuttle to the party.
Only know you’ve been high when you feeling low. Only miss the sun when it starts to snow. Only know you love her when you let her go.
I knew deep down in my heart that “Prince Player” and a lot of other people that didn’t give me the attention I wanted in Chicago would miss me.
You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.
But that isn’t my fault. This is why I love people when they’re with me and keep them as close to me as possible, because I know I’ll leave one day. I thrive on change.
I shake my head. And then I stop. Because I miss them all too.
I arrive at the party and spot the host.
I’m not sure how I made friends quickly here. But I’m glad I did.
“Ricky. Happy birthday!” I hug him.
“Ah you’re here! Thank you for coming. It means a lot considering the amount of things we have due next week”.
I nod. No kidding. Grad school is kicking my ass and all my classmates asses.
“Can I go now? I just came to wish you a happy birthday and I don’t really know anyone here” I say looking around.
“What? Shut up. I was sitting next to you in class when we took the personality test and found out you’re an ENFP!” he says.
I roll my eyes.
“Listen. See that guy over there” he points to a guy with lots of girls surrounding him.
“That’s *Tyler” he says.
I look at him. “What?” he asks.
That’s “Prince Player’s” name. Obviously not *Tyler but this guy has the same name as “Prince Player”. But we’ll call him *Tyler because I don’t want to use their real name and this one doesn’t really seem like a player.
Anyways. I look back at Ricky. “Nothing. Is he Arab? Is that why you’re telling me to go talk to him?”
“No. But he used to work for the United Nations and went to literally every Arab country and speaks Arabic. Go talk to him! I think you’ll like him” I roll my eyes.
But I walk on over. “Tyler” I say behind him.
He turns around and says my name. My full name.
What the fuck.
“How do you know my name?” I ask.
“I heard you introduce yourself to some of Ricky’s friends earlier. And I thought. You have a very lovely name” he says.
I raise my eyebrows. “Oh. Well I don’t really like your name. It was my lover from Chicago’s name. He was great. I miss him. A lot” I say.
He laughs. “Well was he a Jewish*Tyler or an Irish *Tyler?”
I laugh. “I think he was a little bit of both actually. Which *Tyler are you?”
He leans back. “The Jewish *Tyler” he says winking at me. “I really like your name. I’m sure you hate this question, but where is your family from?”
I tell him. And I also tell him my name means “Princess”.
“Oh. In what language?” he asks.
“It’s a mixture of Arabic, Persian, and Indian” I say.
“That’s quite a mix. You should thank your parents often” he says.
I roll my eyes. “Yea. Rarely. Some people are assholes and tease me about my name you know”.
“Oh boo hoo Shahz” he says.
“Oh so now you’re calling me Shahz?” I ask laughing.
“Yea. I figure it’s your nickname” he says.
“It is. I was named after the Princess in 1001 Arabian Nights. It was my dad’s favorite book” I say.
He raises his eyebrows. “No kidding. Alf Leila Wa Leila” he says looking intrigued.
My jaw drops. A Jewish White boy. Is speaking. Arabic. To. Me!
“You speak Arabic” I say. I know Ricky told me earlier but I didn’t believe it!
He shrugs “Yea I did a lot of work in the Middle East. I used to work for the United Nations and lived in Lebanon and Jordan for a while. India too actually”.
I pretend Ricky didn’t tell me this info earlier. “Wow” I say.
He writes some stuff in Arabic that I absolutely cannot read.
He pokes me. “You should learn Arabi!” he says.
My jaw drops. “*Tyler. I was the fucking. President. Of the Arabi club at my college. Okay? Just cuz I don’t know how to write it and read it doesn’t mean I don’t know it. You better watch who you’re talking to!” I say.
He steps backs and laugh. “Whoa! Shots fired!”
We laugh. “I’m the same way I guess” he says.
“So what do you do now?” I ask.
“I work as a researcher at a firm in D.C” he says.
“Oh that’s great I hope to go into research-” I being saying. And then I realize he said D.C.
“Wait..” I begin.
He puts his drink down. “Yea I’m actually only here for the weekend. I was here on business and stayed for a bit since it’s his birthday” he says pointing at Ricky.
“Oh my god. But we were just starting to get along” I say.
“Don’t fret Shahz. I’ll write you” he says.
I laugh so hard I almost choke. “What is this? The 1900s?”
When I contain my laughter I look at him. “Fine. We can be pen-pals”.
We begin laughing again. We both get interrupted by people we know. An hour or so later I’m talking to another guy when he interrupts.
“Excuse me” he says to us. “Hey Shahz” he says pulling me aside.
I look at him puzzled. “Hey”.
“So I’m leaving now. But I wanted to give you my number.”
Oh. He was serious about writing me!
After he leaves, I start getting ready to go to.
Ricky comes up to me. “How did it go?”
“You didn’t tell me he lives in D.C!” I say.
“Oh yea. Wait what? Did you guys get that close? I just wanted you to have someone to talk to!” he says.
I wave him off and grab my coat. “No of course not. He just would have been a good friend to have around”.
Ricky laughs. “Yea. We went to undergrad together. Nice guy he is”.
When I get home, I feel happy. I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and being able to mingle with people.
I go to sleep and hear a text early in the morning.
I’m a little hungover to check so I ignore it.
But a few hours later, when I’m good…I do.
It’s *Tyler. Of course. When I don’t check my phone :0
“Hey Shahz. Hope you got back safe last night. I’m flying out right now.”
Wow. How nice of him to let me know.
We talk all week. “I can’t believe you actually wanted to keep in touch with me even though we didn’t even get time to go out” I say.
“Well. I was intrigued” he says.
I laugh. “By what?” I ask.
“You’re an easy person to talk to Shahz. You came up to me when you wanted to meet me and you talked to me like you knew me all my life” he says.
Boston is an interesting place. No day is ever the same. The people here are amazing. They come, and they go. They thrive on change. Like me. I love it. I feel understood and appreciated. For once, I don’t feel like I’m walking on eggshells.