"You knew him. You know him. You’re supposed to be somebody separate from others your age, a creature that transcends the petty trappings of youth, but he lurks there, this ghost in the back of your mind. You know that his laugh is probably the same sound he makes when he’s breaking into pieces—never in front of anyone, never in front of you, but his eyes are so profoundly human that you know. You know there are times when he breaks into pieces. When someone makes a joke, you look around for that smile that splits his face right open, even though that smile jumps rope with state lines and drinks out of bottles and gets softer around the edges and laughs at jokes that you’ll never be part of. He doesn’t need you and you don’t need him, not really, but there’s something about feeling so profoundly known. When you’re close, it fills your chest with this warmth, and you got hooked on it, but below your soul is an engine and engines break and engines get older and engines forget machines that they used to belong to.
You knew him. You know him. But maybe you didn’t. And maybe you don’t."