we’ve all been,
at least once,
that one extra person,
tagging along awkwardly,
watching the hand-in-hand couple walking in front of you.

occasionally,
they’ll look back,
and smile,
and attempt at a conversation.
but because every other word is some inside joke,
you’re left to stand awkwardly,
chuckle along quietly,
amidst their laughter,
as if you knew what they were referring to.

you question how you ended up,
being the dead weight to a happy couple.
you remember,
your best friend urging you to tag along
with their significant other,
promising
you wouldn’t feel left out.
you decline saying
you have an essay you have to write,
to which they respond saying
they feel guilty for hanging out with you less,

so reluctantly,
you agree.

yet
the more they try to include you,
the more uncomfortable it seems.

in the movie,
when they’re cuddling in the darkness and then ask if you want popcorn,
or in the restaurant,
when they’re trying to take a selfie and then ask you to take a couple pictures for them,
or in the mall,
when they’re sharing a straw while drinking bubble tea and then ask if you want any,
you can’t help but feel like,
the essay you had to write is missing a few words right now.

you end the day off awkwardly,
with a trail of negative feelings,
whether it was
a disgusting desire for a significant other of your own,
or the pressing feeling that you are lonely and desperate,
regardless,
third-wheeling can at least help you get your homework done.