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PART ONE

He was the kind of guy who would pick you up at a rave, E-ed out of your mind at 4 in the morning, driving into the city from the north shore suburbs to bring you home safely. And never ask you for anything in return.

He was the kind of guy who would willingly (and gladly) stand in front of a serial killer to make sure that you had time to escape.

He was the kind of guy would give everything to other people and keep nothing for himself.

And eventually he did when he left home and left me 2 years ago. He’s in Afghanistan now. Somewhere in the sandy desserts, surrounded by dunes and women in the full burka. Eating freeze dried food and wearing an absurd amount of gear, sweat running down his back and face.

Of course that’s only in my imagination. I have no idea what it’s actually like there. But I imagine something awful, something close to hell the way veterans talk about it once they come home, sometimes limbless, always listless, from war.

I never thought I would ever feel about Green the way he felt about me. I never thought I would fall in love with him. He was my best friend. We’d been nearly inseperable since we were 15. Even when I was in Hawaii at highschool, we always talked. We just clicked. We had so much in common. The same “fuck you if you don’t like me I don’t give a shit” attitude and the same taste for The Smashing Pumpkins and Jack Daniels.

I always knew he was a little bit in love with me. I pretended I didn’t know, of course. The best way to not have to deal with something is to ignore it. That’s one of my vices: not dealing with things, putting things off.

I live for change when it comes to new places and adventure and loath it when it comes to my relationships with others. Especially men.

I knew I could always depend on Green. The guy would do anything for me.

I worked in a soccer store when I took a year off from college, a job I hated with the burning passion of my 20 year old soul. I was in a bad place during that time. I was dating a “top 40s” DJ with a Union Jack tattoo and a soul patch. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be going back to school since I owed them so much money. I didn’t have any friends besides Green and my little sister, and my little sister was always with her wretch of a girlfriend so I barely saw her.

I drank a lot in those lonely times—not that I’m not a big drinker now—but it was a different kind of drinking. It was the kind of drinking you do when you want to numb yourself, not when you want to have fun. The kind of drinking you do alone. It was the kind of drinking that you do to make myself forget that your life was probably going nowhere. It was the kind you do when you realize that your dreams are unreachable.

One day, handing out soccer pamphlets to passersby at the mall, extremely hung over and miserable, Green pulled up in his rusty red jeep that had no doors. He got out and walked toward me, a Mcdonald’s bag hanging at his side. He handed it to me and said, “Here, G. You could use these for that hang over.” I nearly shrieked realizing what he had done.

He had brought my McNuggets. He was my hero.

It was things like this, all the time. Sometimes little things, sometimes big things. I always just thought of him as my friend. I didn’t want to face what was really there behind this friendship, a guy who was hopelessly in love with me but resigned to the fact that I’d never feel the same way. I guess he would have rather had me as a friend and be miserable than to not have me in his life at all. That alone shows what a good person he was and is.

He never stopped coming to the parties at my house, the ones my sister and I threw in our back hall with two long tables for beer pong and a blender for margaritas in the kitchen. Even when my DJ boyfriend, Violet, had his hand on my lower back, he never flinched. I felt guilty about not returning his feelings but I knew I couldn’t make myself love him if I didn’t. That would be even more unfair then our current situation.

Of course, then I got drunk and had sex with him.

We frequented this bar, The Lantern, the local spot in our town of very little nightlife activity options. The Lantern looks like one of those classic places from the 1940’s, with very loyal cliental and a train track running around the ceiling with an electric train that made its way around the room in quick circles.

It was actually quite the hopping spot when kids were home from college during Christmas break and summer vacation. It was a place to avoid if you didn’t want to talk to your mortal enemy from middle school.

But, when Green and I went it was always very quiet. Dead in the middle of winter in a small town. There would be one or two other people, mostly men in their early 70s, and the Russian bartender who I never remembered the name of, but who always had excellent book recommendations. We’d drink whiskey sours and beer and talk about life and love and how stupid and fucked up everything was.

It was on one of those nights when it happened.

We were sitting outside, on the cobblestone ground, it was getting near to closing time. We were smoking Marlboro Reds and I was crying for no reason other then that my life was a mess and my blood alcohol level was corpse status.

I felt so alone and sad. Green loved me so much. So, I kissed him. He kissed me back. Then we went to my house and sloppily went up to my sister’s room, in the musty attic, with the idea of jumping on her and scaring her. She wasn’t there.

So we had sex.

The next morning, while smoking a cigarette out of the round, half-open window, the cold air coming through and giving me chicken skin, I was determined not to lose my best friend over this. Not to mention I had a boyfriend. This made me a cheater. I remember thinking I was truly gifted at being able to make an even bigger mess out of my life, even though it was already in shambles.

When Green woke up I just looked over, threw my cigarette to the icy ground below and said, “Well, we’re a guy and a girl who are best friends. It was bound to happen sooner or later.”

We left it at that. Stayed friends, pretended the drunk, unromantic monkey sex we had never happened and went on with our lives.

At least for a while. Until we got drunk and had sex again.

There’s more on this one to come.

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