Louie and I went to Atlantic City with Nico and Mia for New Year’s Eve. They have use of his family’s condo on the boardwalk and invited us to stay for a few nights. I learned how to play Blackjack before we went so I’d know what I was doing. It’s fun watching the high stakes players, but that’s out of my league. Too many rules, and too many people getting upset if you don’t play just the way they think you should play. Nico freaked out a little bit at dinner one night, which started because I took a bite of something off Lou’s plate that he’d gotten from the salad bar, which I did not order. It turned into a huge, and unnecessarily heated ethical discussion of right and wrong. Then it got really uncomfortable when Mia took off her wedding ring, sparking a whole other controversy. Lou and I just looked at each other, afraid we had caused trouble. Nico always has an opinion on everything, and it is usually different from Lou’s, yet they are still great friends, and Lou thinks the world of Nico. He and Mia are people we can always count on, and we love them both, and cherish their friendship. School is great, and I have a lot of good friends in different groups, so I’m never bored or lonely on campus. Just about every morning, I go in early and have coffee with my new friend, Alan. I either have my big thermos of coffee that I make at home, or I stop by the vending truck and get an extra-large cup and a yummy muffin. I’m typically there first, and our regular seats on the couches by the window in the commuter lounge are usually open. It’s weird when somebody else sits there, and as soon as they get up, I move right over to “our” seats. That’s where we first met, when it was just “my” seat. I always hang out there before and between classes, and one day he happened to sit next to me, and we ended up talking for a long time. After a few days it was like we had been best friends forever. Now, I don’t have as much time to get my reading and homework done, but I have a lot more fun. He’s a psychology major, so we don’t have any classes together, but a friend he met in one of his classes, Barry, meets up with us a lot to hang out, too. My favorite time is early in the morning, when it is quiet, and I look out the window and see him coming across the campus to meet me for coffee. He has the brightest, sweetest smile. I haven’t had a friend like him to talk to since Bruce in Schenectady. I can tell him almost anything, and he doesn’t seem to judge or criticize me. He’s had it rough, and I give him a lot of credit for being as strong as he is. He had cancer, and underwent surgeries and treatment for a while, but basically got sick of being sick, and decided to go out and do some travel on his own without any more medical treatments, and either get better or not. He got better. Alan doesn’t like to talk about it much, so I don’t really know a lot of details.  He does talk a lot about his ex-girlfriend though. He is still so much in love with her and is heartbroken they are not together. Maybe I’m missing something, but from how it sounds to me, the only reason they broke up is that her parents thought she was too young to have to deal with a boyfriend with cancer. He seems to still have hope to reunite and doesn’t want to get into any close intimate relationships, so he is always available to hang out with me.