Just Friends

just friends

Here is some crappy story I wrote three or four years ago for a creative writing workshop, which I found on my computer recently. The class was focused on non-fiction, so it’s really more of a personal narrative than anything else. It’s pretty dumb, and won’t make sense to anyone, but I’m quite bored and it’s about time I posted something on here. So here it is, completely unedited. Enjoy, or don’t.. I’m quite sure I don’t mind either way.

We haven’t spoken since Christmas. It was cold then and we walked through the forest together. You told me about your new job and how you had moved out of your parent’s place in October. You didn’t offer to take me there. I wondered why. It seemed strange but I didn’t ask you about it.  You didn’t like questions. When I left we were on good terms. We’ve always been on good terms. I’ve known you since I was seven. You were my best friend.

My family had just moved to New Westminster and our landlords were Polish. Their English names were Chris and Margaret. They had a daughter named Anna who was my age and who was in my class. It was inevitable that our families should become friends. Immigrants supporting immigrants, family ties forged over food and shot glasses. That’s how I met you, buddy. Chris and Margaret had thrown a party to officially welcome us to Vancouver and they had invited a few of their Polish friends. My job was to sit in the hallway with Anna and greet the guests. I watched happy, boisterous people pour through the door. They kneeled to kiss me on both cheeks as they passed, heading for the kitchen. I waited. The voices were loud and everybody was laughing. Then you showed up with your parents, who quickly deposited you by my side, introducing us in the formal way adults seem to think applies to children as well. “Jurek, this is Adrian, he’s a year younger than you are, but we think you two will get along.” You were six years old. That’s how it started.

Why didn’t you tell me yourself? I had to hear it from a third party, which was fucking embarrassing. It was Tyler who told me. Remember how you introduced us? He phoned me last week. I beat the walls of my apartment until my knuckles were bloody. I cried until my chest hurt. The phone was still off the hook.

We never lived very close together but always found time for each other. Your parents would drive for an hour and leave you at my house for the weekend. Sleepovers were our thing. Your mom was my aunt, grandmother, teacher and guide. My mom was your godmother, sister, friend and confidante. We both got the benefit of two families who loved us. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if I’d never met you.

After a while I got up off the floor to put the phone back in its cradle. I thought about calling you then. You with your straight brown hair that would fall into your eyes whenever you leaned forward, you brushing it away with a casual movement from your hand, you with your thrift shop clothes, too tight, stretched out on my couch like some great jungle cat, you with your cause-a-week activism, caring so much, when everyone else just put their heads in the sand and shut their eyes. I couldn’t do it. Not tonight. I put my jacket on and headed out the door, looking for fast friends and sedatives.

When you were nine and I was 10 you told me you had kissed a girl. I believed you right away. You’d never lied to me before. You said her name was Cynthia and she had blond hair. You said her lips tasted like apples. I didn’t kiss a girl until I was 16. Her lips didn’t taste like apples. I don’t know why I thought they would. It was always like that between you and me. When I was old enough I started to play soccer. In my first season I scored thirteen goals. The next year you were old enough to play too. You scored sixteen goals and your team won the championship. I was proud of you, and jealous. We got older and we kept playing. I wanted to be on your team but we lived in different cities. We were both good players. Our fathers had taught us how to dribble and fake the defenders. They had taught us how to score with our left foot and how to save our energy so we had something left when all the other players were tired. They taught us that a good pass was just as important as a good shot.

I woke up in the late afternoon, it was dark, and the sun had gone down hours ago. My hands hurt. My head hurt. I thought of you. Why did you do it Adrian? I know the reasons, anyone could guess at those, but why would you do it, how could you do it? I’ve never trusted anyone in my life as much as I trusted you. You were that kind of guy. One in a million. The type of person people wanted to be around, to be close to. You were medicine for melancholy, the cure for the common day. Now it’s all gone.

We grew out of our childhood together. We went to different high schools but never drifted apart. Our sleepovers were different. Now we searched the scrambled porno channels for clues to adulthood. We talked about girls and what it would be like to fuck them. You said a girl in your English class had given you a blowjob on her couch one day after school. Her mom had been at work and her dad didn’t live with them anymore. You told me she was your girlfriend and that one day I would meet her. I never did. In grade ten I quit playing soccer; your team had just won the provincial championship and you were going to represent British Columbia in some kind of national tournament. You were gone for the summer. When you came back you were taller than me. After grade eleven I moved to Belgium. A year later when I moved back we found ourselves in the same grade, in the same school, in the same town. I was excited. You seemed indifferent.

Later that day, when the time difference was right, I picked up the phone and dialed your number. “Hello?” Your voice.

“Hey…. …. It’s Jurek.”

You sounded excited, and surprised. “Whoa! Hey Man! Long time no talk! How’s it going over there?”

“Great.”

“Cool. Cool. So what’s new?”

“Do you realize that you haven’t phoned me once since I moved out here. Not once. You haven’t sent any emails either. I guess… I guess I just feel like we’ve lost touch or something.” I was struggling, wanting you to bring it up, to tell me the truth before I asked you for it.

“Hey, I’m sorry. I guess I’ve just been really busy here.” You sounded hurt. I almost wanted to apologize. I didn’t.

“Buddy?”

“Yea Jurek, what’s up?”

“Is there anything you want to get off your chest, anything you want to tell me? If there is, don’t worry, I won’t get mad, I’ll just listen.” My voice was quiet, barely audible over the long distance hum of the phone line.

“What are you talking about?”

Louder, “Please, man… if there is anything I should know I’d like to hear it from you. Please.”

“No man, what’s wrong, what are you saying? Did someone tell you something?”

CLICK.

GUNSLINGRRR

One Response to Just Friends

  1. Sydney says:

    unfortunatly relateable
    but expressed well

Leave a Reply