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I don’t remember our first interaction, but I do know we didn’t cross paths immediately, despite the small environment we belonged to. I remember thinking you had the build of a runner, tall and slender. Your eyes were darker than mine, and your legs were so long, they’d stretch up past my waist if we were side by side. You were always lingering after hours, entertaining whoever else was still around. You had a great sense of humor.
I’m a little older and consider this my first actual relationship. I brush off things from before because they don’t really need to be acknowledged. You know about them, but you think the same way I do. You’re the first in what will be several importance.
You shake off some spoiled ideas that I had been told were normal and let me know that they’re not. You showed me what normal was and so much more. You eluded friendship to me, that grew so much and became so much, and I still cling to that now because I still have it.
There were never secrets or any keeping anything from each other. We’d always been solid, and we built a strong and loving relationship together. It was near perfect.
Not long after we began, your life took a turn away from mine. Not like an exit turn off the highway, but one of those roads where the middle lanes are under construction so cars are forced to separate, but still drive alongside one another. It was a new experience, puzzling to maneuver at first, but nothing overwhelming. We had our rifts, but they were easily mended.
You were growing older as I was growing up. We weren’t far in age, but sometimes it felt that way. I questioned if I was in over my head and you questioned if I wasn’t enough for you. But we didn’t act on our doubts. Doubts are normal, you know.
It took a while, but we got back on the same page. I started to understand this new direction of your life because mine turned there as well, and instead of feeling like I’m on the opposite side of a median as you, I felt a few car lengths behind in the same lane. This lane challenged me and scared me, but we were strong and I pulled on our strength to restore my own. You made me embrace the challenge, and I consistently grew as a person as I went through my life trials. You were always there.
Again, your life changed. You didn’t switch lanes or drive off the road, but you sped far ahead of me. You’re creating the success you always talked to me about. I was both proud and envious of where you were and impatient to be in your position.
I lost patience with myself for a long time. You didn’t weather away and gave me everything I couldn’t give myself. You do so much that I want to feel guilty, but can’t, knowing I would do the same for you a million times over.
Finally, we are driving the same road again. You’re always a little ahead, but that’s the nature of our timing—you can’t fight against nature. Now we are successful together, with no differences between us acknowledged any longer and we are happy.
For whatever all the “what ifs” could be, they are always joyful. Built up careers, family additions, houses, and accomplishments, one after the other—always smiling. Not always perfect “what ifs,” but “what ifs” that include you each time. The friendship never left and love continued to grow.
Imagine if it would have been this way? I’ve realized certain roads split and never reconnect.