On a warm Saturday night in August, I was standing in front of the Payne Whitney gym at about 9:45 pm. I had just finished watching auditions for my dance company, ran home and changed clothes, and returned to the gym. At this point, everyone was gone and few people were out on the street. I was mostly alone, save for the passing cars in front of me. It was dark and I was alone, so I called my best friend. It was a similar routine. When I’m out alone at night, I instinctively call someone. It makes me feel safer to hear someone else’s voice. Mikaela answered, and we chatted for a few minutes. I complained about stupid things, and she updated me on her recovery from mono. About 10 minutes into the conversation, a van pulled up to the curb I was standing on. The side door was open and the people inside were yelling. A guy in a red shirt jumped out, shoved me in, and jumped back in. All the while, the van kept moving. As we sped away, the side door shut and I realized I had been kidnapped.

Ordinarily, this would be a terrifying experience. But, on this particular night, I had received a text from one of my friends earlier to be outside of the gym with money. And the screaming idiots in the van were my friends. They were taking me bowling. So we went bowling, and I didn’t have socks, and it was super cold and I was wearing a tank top, and I sucked tremendously. And after bowling we went to McDonalds and I ate too many calories and it upset my stomach as usual. But I had so much fun. As one of my friends said, it felt like high school. But the fun part of high school, when you just drove around with your friends and had fun because you were together and not because of what you were doing.

So, the moral of the story is something about friendship or not letting stress overwhelm you or something like that. I don’t know. There’s probably not a moral; it’s probably just a story about my friends and I having fun. But that’s important; having fun. Even if it’s not some extravagant adventure or epic tale you’ll tell your kids someday, having fun with your friends is important. Super important.

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