My favorite memory from being a teenager is sneaking up to the roof of my high school with Micah. We were extremely well-behaved otherwise, and the thought to sneak onto the roof came to us after giving a tour of the school and realizing we could use Micah’s slender and long arms to open the door to the roof from the other side. At first, we were afraid of getting caught. We realized in a school this big, as long as we stayed under the radar we would be fine. A high school whose admission was based on one test taken in the eighth grade, a pressure cooker with one magical release valve from the sardine-packed hallways. We wrote creepy messages that we dropped from the roof onto the courtyard, and into the classroom windows. The part that I miss most though, especially now eight years later, was having the one-on-one quality time lying under the sun and sharing our lives. We both had pretty troubled home lives and it made me feel less alone to know that while everyone has to run in their own lanes, I had someone running in a lane near me on the same track. Since those days, there hasn’t been anything nearly as grounding. My peers are quite literally on their own tracks, ones whose locations escape me and which I would probably not be able to recognize. I think there was something so pure about that friendship connection, a surrogate family in situations with absent parents, a chosen family. Now, it seems that friendships are relegated to a secondary status. Everything is prioritized over them--work, and above all family--whether partners, children, or blood connections. It’s hard for me to understand how what was once the most integral human connection in my life is now a nicety for most if at all. But it can still be a nice memory to treasure, a beacon of light from the past, the tape and glue of teenage years. Maybe it was a proto-partnership. Maybe a special kind of friendship--a soul friend. Maybe that’s what partners are. Maybe all I’m after now is finding another soul companion with the zest of life to sneak onto life’s roof, take a load off, and run in parallel lanes on the same track.