> jumping into life.

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College party: loud music, too much wine. It started as a potluck, ten or so of us, including my exboyfriend. We circled each other for the better part of an hour, neither sure where the new territory lay. He'd brought the brandy his dad gave him when we were in Connecticut in December: old stuff of his grandfather's, from Greece. Probably twice my age. The cork had rotted out, and it was like drinking raisin-flavored Everclear.

Even now, we communicate more with a glance than I can say to most people in an hour. Across the room, I chide him for bringing something that expensive to a party, and he shrugs to say he wasn't going to drink it all himself anyway. He glances at the crockpot. Yup, that's my soup. He nods, good. I smile thanks. It takes a whle, but eventually we speak in words:

Do you believe we have souls?

Can it be that we've never discussed this? I tell him I do. He asks why. I don't have a why.

He is a scientist by nature and a botanist by hobby; he likes things orderly. He wants a why. Because we dream, I tell him. Because we love. And: I don't believe things always need an explanation to be true. A nod. I am trying, he says, to accept that there may not be explanations for the inexplicable.

More people come, more food, more wine. It is such a relief to speak with him, but conversations pull us apart, and it isn't long until it is too loud and too late for me. These days I'm not interested in investing my energy in the party scene. When I leave I don't say goodbye, even with my eyes. I don't know why.