Due to the drunken fictions and frictions of those grievous in-between years an apology was due. 15 years after the fact, but due is due, so I offered one up. I was feeling penitent, though I knew nothing more was owed, so I kept hanging out, though, really I just wanted that to be done with it. I didn’t want to bro. I didn’t want to bond. I didn't want to rehash that midwestern teen epoch. There is no old times sake between us now. That shit was bullshit on either side and I just wanted to be clean of mine. He accepted my sorry and grabbed my hand hard and kissed it and didn't let go. I fought the impulse to punch him straight in the teeth since my balled up hand was so perfectly poised, but didn't want to have to apologize twice. I got up to go smoke and he followed me.
On the corner, I got a light from a guy who does what I do for a living. He was standing with a girl who looked like Snow White, but hotter. I wished for a hole to open up in the sidewalk and magically shoot me home. We all stood silent for an awkward few seconds. The mens balance tentative, they rolled from their toes to their heels, teetering like they were on the bow of an invisible ship that held only them. They were both wet-eyed and sloppy drunk, the blast-from-the-past boy’s eyelids had the persistent slow slitting of the narcotized. The local boy handled the introductions.
This is Melissa
Actually it’s Miranda
Melissa, this is Jeszzzzsss--
He sounds like the snake on The Mighty Bouche when he says it, the s like a slow leak.
Jessica. I shake her hand.
How do you guys know each other?
I’m a writer, he’s a writer.
Jessica she’s a music. Journalism. write. She. He’s trying to untangle the words, to properly conjugate “write”. His eyes seem loose in their sockets. “She’s theee writer here.”
Oh, really. That’s what I want to do. Says Miranda-Melissa.
We talk about writing, she asks for advice, I explain to her what a fanzine is.
HIT IT OR QUIT IT the past boy thunders, bowing and throwing his hand towards the sky. “I know! I was there!”
The local boy interrupts.
Jessica has a blog.
It’s true, I do.
I write about it sometimes. He scrunches his face down towards mine. I love it, but sometimes I have to make fun of it. He shrugs by way of apology.
It’s ok. That’s how I make my living too.
He turns to the girl: She’s great, but lately, her blog is. Confusing?
He turns to me: No! Flat.
Back to the girl: But her paid writing. Hoo boy. Fire.
To me: Blog. Nuhsomush. He smiles nervous and hard like he’s trying to keep his teeth in.
Yeah. It hasn’t been a funny-fun summer. I’m lean on jokes.
He begins to backpeddle: Actually can I fawn, can I explain to her who Jessica Hopper is?
I’d prefer if you didn’t. He tries anyway.
Is your grandma dead now? He asks in the middle of a sentence.
No. She is still with us, thankfully.
Both of the boys are trying to jibber at us while we try to talk to one another. They are too drunk to handle the sobriety of our conversation. I hear Kathleen Hanna in my head—“tell me what the fuck we’re doing here / why are all the boys acting strange” --and the girl drops the bomb.
Yeah, this has been a terrible summer. My ex boyfriend just died and then my boyfriend dumped me right after.
Both the boys reel back. The hot girl has a just-dead boyfriend: there goes Plan A! No one is getting in her pants tonight. Their default setting is treacle-slow game spitting, but they manage to offer condolences in unison: “Whoa.”
Posted by Jessica at July 25, 2008 12:42 PM