I saw an old friend tonight. We were those sort of friends who always ended up occupying similar space, but not ever particularly knowing what to do with it. I think we cared for each other–the length of yearson the periphery has to speak for something?
When he hit me up on facebook, I though for sure he’d caught the private relationship status change from all the fall out (see Just Beginning post). I thought this would be a lonely attempt to reconnect. At best, to try and get some not-so-strange. At worst, to try and rekindle a friendship. I decided to bring back-up, and showed up despite not really wanting to at all, if only for old times sake.
He was always the lonely type. Soft, distanced brown eyes. A strong but thin physique…The first kid to wear skinny jeans and dye his hair in high school, from what I can remember, his emo act got him a whole lot of pussy. This part I can remember. Girls I barely was aware of asking increduously and nervously is I really hung out with him on the weekends… I was dating his best friend (thats how I met my old friend) and frankly, I could give two shits. I heard how he raunchily shared every detail about these girls he’d, after they gathered their clothes and he dropped them off just in time for curfew (his parents were/are loaded. the car only added to his appeal). I thought–read:knew–he was an asshole. That’s all there was to it.
But over the years, I began to pity him. Seeing him squeeze in those leopard print ultra-skinnies. Trying to dye his hair outrageously, long after it was cool. His first STD scare. His first DUI. His first heartbreak. One night, I had just come home from a semester spent in India (we’ll get to my flavorofprivilege, I’m sure, later in the blog). I decided, almost against my better judgement to goto a hometown party.
It was horrific. I didn’t know how to talk to these people anymore. Didn’t know how to explain I’d spent the semester sober, doing MAJOR and SCARY introspection. It didn’t help I was nearly bald, per an impulsive and attention-seeking decision. Everyone was buzzing around me or about me. I was ‘cool’ for all of this, and yet all I knew how to do was drink. I couldn’t talk to anyone really… and this was me at every party. All I’d have to do is have a drink or a few… and wait for the magic.
But back to my old friend. He meanders up to me…meander is strong. He wobbles over to me, I’m sitting alone by a window, overwhelmed with the responsibility of being wanted. He sits beside me and stares at my face. I’m sure he meant this to be revealing and sensitive, a sort of ‘hook’ to what he was going to say, but in my anxious and not-yet-displaced mind, it weirded me out.
“Sydney, I’ve always loved you.”
He proceeds to say that ever since I was with his best friend in high school he has loved me, always jealous, always longing for me from the distance, ad nauseum. He is very drunk. I am very desirable at this party being that its my first social appearance since being abroad…he is very drunk, he is lonely…I’m getting the picture… By the time he’s done trying to convince me (and himself) that he’s in love with me, I’m my-entire-cup of whiskey-drink down. I politely decline, saying you don’t mean that, you’re drunk, he protests… I slammed another drink and smoked a cig, took the bottle I brought with me and left. I did not acknowledge this conversation ever again.
So, things haven’t been the same since. And now, fairly out of the blue, he’s messaging me pretty insistently, what am I supposed to think? I take another friend and sit there awkwardly trying to make conversation or catch up, alternating between deep boredom and pity. He still, at 27, lives behind his parents’ home and works at PapaJohn’s. His ‘apartment’ (read: room over garage) has video game posters, a large hentai ‘panty-shot’ cartoon, cups with a considerable amount of mold growing in them. He had no reason to want to see me, and I shot his fuck-for-good-times-sake chances out of the water by brigning a friend. We talk about all the people we used to know, all making very poor life choices. He tells me he’ll be getting his license back soon, from his 2nd DUI. We watch him play video games. My friend and him smoke a bowl while an anime about pinball plays behind the rest of the visit…The coolest, most fucked and most admired kid from high school, now a monument to all that is just a little fucking sad.
He offered me wine during this visit…how the fuck was I supposed to say no?