Rhode Island is a vague idea of a tiny place far away that I can't put any thoughts into. And then Miguel announced he was going to Brown for grad school.
Rhode Island suddenly had context. It was the new home to my Venezuelan friend. My manic, exhausting, demanding, awesome Venezuelan.
Miguel for so long was a punch line. He was that short, manic, and exhausting. He was moody and hard to read and laughed when I least expected it to be funny.
He was part of a group we called, at least for a time, the Blake 7. Because Blake and there were seven. Yeah, I was kind of a ringleader.
Our "two movies a week and a roleplaying game and dinner and all weekend togetherness" eroded over time. Because it had to.
The last straw was Miguel moving to Rhode Island. Our college years were over.
We were still friends, some of us, for some of the time. Our Euler diagrams shrank and multiplied. We were friends with this person in this context, that person in that. Not a group anymore.
But as I age, I realize group doesn't work as well as it feels like it should. Too many personalities for consensus. We are each working hard to build consensus in our own relationships to have energy to do that in a group of 7 or 9 people. It is doomed from the beginning. But that doesn't mean it isn't fun while it lasts.
Now our Eulers cross here and there.
After Brown, Miguel was deported. Caught up in the sweep of expired student visas. But his sister was a citizen, and now he lives here again, legit, with his wife and family, in the midatlantic.
His emails are still intense and exhausting. But worn down around the edges in an attractive way that I think Rhode Island must be as well, venerable stone buildings covered in ivy. He's an old friend from Venezuela now. Who introduced my kids to Studio Ghibli films. And occasionally sleeps on my couch when he comes through town.
Have I been to Rhode Island? No.