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A hand

About five of us in the big room, scattered around on the floor, some in chairs. The radio is on one end of the room, tuned to the broadcast of the memorial service at St. Paul's, where most of our classmates are waiting outside, as there is no room left in the cathedral.


After a few moments, I go back to my bag to find tissues, realizing that I hadn't really cried about everything yet. The tears begin to flow quietly - I will not sob in front of people I don't know. I sit on the floor, burying my face in my knees and wishing to heaven that I wasn't so alone.


And then.


A hand reaches out and takes mine.


I looked up to see Andy, with his other arm around his girlfriend, taking my hand and squeezing it.


The message is sent, and received.


I am not alone here.


I still sit a bit apart form everyone, but now I'm with them, not just in the a room they also happen to occupy.


After the ceremony, everyone offers embraces to everyone else - Chip comes up behind me and squeezes the daylights out of me - and we talk as we dry our tears. Conversation pauses, and I pick up my bag. "The air in this room has gotten way too depressing - let's get out of here." They agree, and we leave for a few minutes. When we return, the air of depression is gone, replaced with an air of community, of togetherness. We are friends. We are what we need right now.

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