Little Things I’ve Noticed Over The Years

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Annie Spratt

1. In the middle of telling a good story, she’ll roll her eyes and flutter her eyelashes rapidly. If it’s a really good story, she’ll do it multiple times. And sometimes she’ll interject her own little side comments and thoughts about the story as she’s telling it—always said out of the corner of her mouth and in a slightly lower voice, like figurative parentheses.

2. When he listened to music, whether we were driving or sitting around the table in his kitchen or even when we’d walk around, he’d tap his fingers to his thumb quickly—although never quite on beat. Recently I have caught myself doing the same thing while listening to a song I like, but I’ve never told him because I’m not sure he even knows he does it.

3. Her glasses were enormous and would always slide down to the tip of her nose while we sat around working. When she’d look up from her computer screen, she’d tilt her head back slightly so she could see me through her lowered glasses. The lenses were magnified too, so her eyes always looked huge.

4. We’d eat dinner back in our bedroom if we were ever too tired from class or studying to go down to the dining halls, and she’d lay out her food methodically on her desk. Methodically in the sense that she was the type of person to peel an entire clementine in one strip, rather than plucking off pieces of the skin without paying much attention. Always neat. She also always opted for apples instead of Sun Chips, which—to this day—baffles me.

5. I have never and never will understand the signs that ask people not to “groom” themselves on the subway. It’s never bothered me and I sort of find it calming to watch someone fix their hair or finish their makeup quietly in the corner of the car. I always wonder where they’re going.

6. She seemed to always have a thermos of some kind on her person at all times. She’d pull it out of her soft, baby blue backpack whenever we’d find a spot to sit and she’d hold it in her hands for the entirety of our conversation; just twisting the cap of the thermos, but never taking it off.

7. Whenever he had something important to say to me, he would always begin with “Okay, so…” I’d never be able to tell whether it was going to be good or bad, but I knew it was always something he was nervous about telling me—so hearing “Okay, so…” always made me nervous too.

8. There is something very soothing to me about catching someone toying with the fringe of a carpet or fancy pillow and braiding the strings together and then immediately combing their fingers through to unbraid them.

9. Her room is always a disaster—especially her bedside table, which houses several empty bottles of seltzer and a broken alarm clock that just flashes 12:00 and wrappers from the straws that go with the iced coffee she orders to the apartment when she’s hungover—but her closet is always very neat, even though it’s the only thing people can’t see. I’ve spent countless hours sprawled out on her comforter, amongst assignments and loose pens and gum wrappers, watching her carefully folding her clothes and putting them away. She talks the whole time.

10. Whenever she laughs really hard, she puts her hand over her heart. She has a loud laugh too—which I appreciate, because mine is very, very loud.

11. I love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love people who talk with their hands.

12. You could always tell that what he was saying was a joke or a very stupid lie because he would purse his lips together after talking, as to hide his smile, and would widen his eyes a little bit. He had a terrible poker face, but we always egged him on anyway and never told him.

13. She checks her teeth in the reflection of her dark phone screen after every meal. I don’t know why I like that detail.

14. He has a very specific smile for when he can’t come up with anything clever to say back to me. I’d wait for that smile when talking to him.

15. She always transfers the high school class ring we both received our junior year from her ring finger to her index finger. The other day a photographer came up to us at a bar and asked to take a Polaroid of us, and when the picture slowly started to lighten, she noted out loud that she forgot to move her ring back to her ring finger.

16. It was never necessarily a secret in the first place, but when he got out of the shower he used to put on a hat so that it would flatten his hair slightly. We used to tease him mercilessly because it was so foreign to see him wearing a hat and we had no idea where he got this particular hat from—some school event, possibly? There’s no way he paid for it—but now whenever I visit and see a hat lying around, I know exactly what it’s for. TC mark

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