{quince-infused vodka}

not wanting to commit the cardinal sin of speaking useless words nor allowing another to judge my superficial renderings of what the fuck i have been doing since graduation, i telegraph my weak position as i flee--to retrieve a drink, hunt down canapes, find another. in silence i replay their words, looks, mannerisms, and i know that regardless of their current occupation or higher degrees, i am not only their peer but their superior! what better conclusion to point to my own conviction of course? alas! it cannot be shared--"i will reach FI decades before you and spend all my remaining time with those i love and doing only what pleases me!"--accepting such a declaration requires many (reasonable, conservative) assumptions and relies on knowledge which they haven't yet bothered to acquire.

when i face them, speak to them, watch them as the conversation goes round, i know i am jealous. not of what they have (i don't have access to that) but of what i know could have been mine, had i X or Y or Z. that title, status, lifestyle could have been mine!--such beautiful fantasies are more often chimera.

regardless, i was happy to see my true cohort.

as i walked from patio to patio, i would often stop in my tracks, distracted by the ocean views. the more beautiful mediterranean was, in its foreign-ness, less visceral. but here, less than 500 miles from where i sit, there is a view that absorbs, erases my sense of self. an existential hypnosis, a balm for my anxious, caged mind.