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To the stranger I feel like I know

When you’re the girl that I see every single Tuesday and Thursday around 1:30 because we both get out of classes then and are presumably not up for biking all the way over to Arrillaga because it’s the only dining hall that’s open, so instead we just pop by Olive’s for a good ol’ Campus Drive sandwich … Do I say hi to you?

When you’re the guy that I always see around my dorm because you’re friends with someone who lives there that I’m not particularly close with but could still be considered somewhat of friends, and we run into each other at a restaurant off campus … Should I wave?

If you’re the kid that followed me on Instagram a week after we were admitted to Stanford, and we’re constantly liking each other’s pictures … When we finally meet in real life and obviously recognize each other, do I act like I’ve already met you?

Someone once told me that to recognize a friend is to have created a shared experience with someone; to smile at the stranger on the bus on the way to work and to continue to smile at them every day for the next few years. To you whom I see every day and have never spoken to, while we could both perceive this situation as being “in too deep” to randomly choose a day to start talking to one another, we could also interpret our awkwardly undefined relationship as already having taken a step in our shared experience.  

So, to the person I see on campus all the time, the one that I bump into in the most random of circumstances, the one that I feel I make eye contact with too often and, in spite of all of this, the one that I have never actually spoken with or introduced myself to, I say to you: hello.

 

Contact Clara Spars at cspars ‘at’ stanford.edu.

 

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