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I jaywalked carefully today. I stared down each passerby instead of peering through them to avoid touching them. I tried to breathe deeply to release the clenching in my chest.

Ever since breaking my jaw on Friday the 13th in the fifth grade, I’ve become convinced that today is a day that karma, fate, destiny or just some greater force sets aside to catch up with me, to finally punish me for something terrible I did but don’t remember.

As a man raised by a scientist, this is completely absurd. And yet I still go out of my way not to go outside, to find a place free of danger and sharp objects. I am not surprised at all that two different groups of friends want to hang out tonight. I would expect nothing less of the universe: when I want introvert time most, I receive summons from two different social circles, both of which require at least 45 minutes of public transit just to get there.

It’s completely antithetical to everything I want, but I’m going. I will walk with my eyes towards the sky, fully expecting an air conditioner in the face, but I will walk outside anyway because I know I will get whatever I deserve before midnight. I may want introvert time, but I need to be around people, regardless of the date. Maybe the train will run slow, maybe I’ll trip on a set of stairs, but I’m going to walk out that door and take whatever I get.

And, most likely, I’ll be scared shitless the entire time.

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