My friend Nicholas liked to hit me in the back of the head. It was a joke, I think, just a part of our dynamic. I would say something stupid and he would hit me. It was sort of a slapstick routine. Sometimes my other friends would join in, but mostly, the two of us were the comedic pair.

I’m not sure exactly how the joke started. I don’t think it was something we ever talked about. I don’t remember the first time we played it out, the first time his hand met the back of my head. It just sort of fell into place, perfectly shaped for its slot in our lives. It hurt when he hit me, but I would laugh and he would laugh and our friends would laugh because it was funny.

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