Shower Thoughts: To friendship and falling in love

Dan Kubota’s column ‘Shower Thoughts’ explores those thoughts that you have when you zone out in the shower and let the warm water just run over you.

things the *ideal* SO should have:

  1. very kind (it’s out of a genuine desire to help others, not out of some habit or formality)
  2. loves to laugh and has a good sense of humor
  3. willing to do silly things with me (embracing the weird and not taking yourself too seriously — just having fun doing anything)
  4. but like the really silly things, the things they do in rom-coms, the disney movies i consumed as a wide-eyed child
  5. it’s always the little things — saving a seat, wetting the other’s toothbrush, bringing an umbrella big enough for two, leaving the last bite of dessert
  6. loves me as i am, not this false version of me they’ve made up in their heads


I’d consider myself a die-hard rom-com fan (or at the very least, I just love “The Notebook,” “Grease” and the “To All the Boys” trilogy). Okay, maybe I can’t quote every word of “When Harry Met Sally,” but I really do love rom-coms, you know? There’s just something so special about them, the comedic way that two seemingly opposite people engage in witty banter before falling madly in love and having a dramatic confession (usually in an airport or train station before one of the two is scheduled to leave for some random thing or another). They’re so stupid and cringey, so funny and wholesome.


flower crowns in an italian restaurant 

dressed up in all the shades of blue

laughing until your mascara runs


Kissing in the rain (although you might catch a cold without a proper raincoat), making out in the backseat of your partner’s vintage car (even if it’s a small convertible), and dramatically confessing your love in the middle of a lacrosse field (during practice? How scandalous! My coaches would have never!) all hold a special place in my heart (not necessarily in that order). 


the pink and purple bracelet you made me that broke when i tried to fix it

(the beads and invisible string in an empty boba bliss cup on my desk for weeks)

the way you put on your iconic red-and-white plaid shirt to go on a walk with me at midnight when i knocked on your door about to burst into tears, no questions asked


Maybe it’s because I’ve always lived my life in a world of my own creation. The real world, while filled with beauty in all the living and nonliving things around me, can be a bit overwhelming, and sometimes, it can just feel like there’s too much going on. There’s just too much. On the other hand, books are filled with the same text no matter when in your life you read it, books are safe, books are comforting, books won’t leave you floundering in a sea of feelings alone. There is comfort in the sameness of the text. the literal meaning stays the same and the interpretations of it are endless.


the patience with which you “duetted” me for mia and sebastian’s theme and tolerated my tone-deafness

the college bound paper note from a “mysterious person” you slipped under my door that i’ve got saved in my desk

the way i came out to you on accident in a panic and was underwhelmed by your nonchalant “k” (it didn’t change a thing)


Like a lot of people, I grew up on a diet of Disney movies and fantasy novel series; “The Magic Treehouse,” “Rainbow Magic” and “Little Women” (and its reimagining, “The Penderwicks”) were some of my favorites. I found myself watching my life like it was a movie. Instead of being its principal actor, the one in front of the camera telling the story through my tone and dynamics, I was the girl behind it, crafting up a story with angles and color. I was the storyteller, not the character. The stories I created were an escape from my real life, not the real world I was living in.


late night bike rides through the city (the quiet neighborhood streets of palo alto will, for a long time at least, whisper your name)

splitting smoothies and fighting over who covers the bill because you’re too stubborn and won’t just let me do it

racing to open the door just for the thrill of saying “after you!”


I’ve loved being the storyteller; it’s just sometimes I wish I could be the character finding their “happy ever after.” When will I get my happy ending? When will it be my turn to kiss my Prince Charming under the fireworks by the big Disney-esque princess castle? When will I find someone who will go on long walks with me, take stupid photos, write letters and smile when they look at me? When will I find someone who loves me as much as I love others? It sounds a bit petulant, frankly, but I just want to be loved.


countless selfies, bad 0.5s, polaroids, normal poses and scared faces (what on earth does “make a silly face” mean?), photos of us occupying the same proportion of space among the other photos on my phone as the memories of us in my head

handwritten letters on my  favorite panda flower stationery that i’ve saved for at least six years waiting for the right people to use it on, bright post-it cranes, portraits of my friends, color coded gifts

smiling at the phone seeing a text from you and another targeted instagram reel (some wholesome, some just calling me out [which you have every right to do, you know])


Those late night bike rides have always been my favorite with you. For some reason, I can never dress properly for those; I’m always wearing some random Stanford t-shirt and shorts (never proper athleisure like my mom would have me do), so I can really feel the wind whipping through my hair and enjoy the strange sensation of being warm when it’s chilly outside. We were biking down a quiet main road — had been for some time — until I broke the silence, having been lost in thought and wanting to voice that. As much as I claim to hate formalities, even I can’t escape loving the little details like getting a random good morning text out of the blue and an encouraging note slipped into my backpack.


midnight confessions as we sit on the carpeted hallway outside your room

looking for my phone with me after five bajillion connections and delayed flights (far too little sleep and any number of Monsters greater than zero can’t have helped)

always being willing to go on a walk with me or just sit with me as i sit with my feelings


You know that feeling? That slow realization as you put together all the pieces and wonder how you couldn’t have seen it better? You know the one. The lead has a moment of clarity and in an elaborate series of events, uses that realization to make things right. 

Perhaps I’m stretching things, but I want to map this out in rom-com format: lead (me) goes on and on about wanting some[thing] (romantic love) while missing out on the “boy next door” (the platonic love I’ve had all this time). It’s funny, the way I’ve not noticed how important they are to me and how much it means to me that they are in my life. Funny what chasing after an ideal will do for you.

I don’t know how to say this, but my friends are my everything. Or maybe I do. 


in the words of Cinderella, “so this is love.” you, my dear friends, you’re “book-boyfriend” material. you’re silly and human, brighten up any room you walk into, and most importantly you’re you. i’d run after you through a crowded airport (catching you right before you leave for good) just to tell you how much you mean to me. i hope you know how much i love you all. 

thank you. for everything.

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