My best friend is the main character in the story. But it's not like he tells me what to do all the time. Or even most the time. Heck, sometimes he does tell me what to do, and I tell him, "Fuck you! Just because you're some big central protagonist doesn't mean you run the show!" I don't use those words exactly, but he gets the message. Then usually we won't talk for a little while. Then usually everything's OK after that. Like today. Today's Christmas.
He got back from the hospital last night-my best friend, let's not forget- and his whole family has been waiting on him. Right now they're praising him for solving the mystery of the crippled children. It goes back 30 years through this town's made-up history and resurfaced when some girl in our class went missing back in September.
Don't worry, it's Christmas.
The children have been saved, or at least recognized, and the bag guy (that new creepy janitor at our school) is behind bars. All thanks to him. Well, and me too I guess. After all, I am his best friend.
Don't get me wrong, I am actually happy for him. He's come really far since the beginning of the school year, both in maturity and spirituality. He's grown. I'm really glad he's come home. He's just a little bruised up I expect. There'll be Welcome Home balloons and everyone smiling and his mentor will be there to reprise some nugget of wisdom and there'll probably even be cake. Then I'll walk in the door and everyone will yell "HEY!" and I'll say back what I always say back. He'll be glad to see me because, well ultimately, I did help him crack the case and although he tussled a little about it he'll probably get the girl, which he deserves, and at the end of the day with all these worldly stories and older creepy villians, we're more or less the same age.
I wish I could tell his story as good as he does. I wish for a lot of things. I wish it wasn't so cold. It started sleeting after I left my house. Why I'm not there- I couldn't tell you. It'd be a place to dry these wet socks. But I can do that at my best friend's house too I guess. Plus there'll be cake.
I turn left for three blocks and then I turn right and the suburban lawns are blanket white and the streets too as if the snowmobile driver was Santa Claus and pulled a fast one for all those cozy families at home by their fires. I stroll past them all. Generic families in mass produced living room window frames and the red orange yellow green blue Christmas lights blinking frantically against the deplete white noise. I meant white snow. I meant the mall.
I stroll past the mall, it's in between me and my best friend's neighborhoods. The mall is big and filled with purchasable dreams. It's not empty and warm and there's probably a shop that sells cake and yet I must stroll on.
I'm almost to my best friend's house and our mutual consultory conclusion. We have some catching up to do. And after, new excursions to go on. Sequels. Oh man, will I ever grow up?
I'm exhauseted and fat and almost ready to give up about a block away from my best friend's house when I stop for a cigarette. My best friend doesn't know I smoke. I plot to keep it that way. I don't want to come in panting because I've been walking in the cold for half an hour and I'm weak and pathetic and he's supposed to be the hero. That's not fair. That's not life.
So I sit on the curb, a little spot that I found where the snow melted. I sit my ass down and realize that it's soaking cold wet and so I take a long drag and pretend not to care. I pretend I'm fucking my best friend's sister because I often think of that even though he doesn't know and she doesn't know. I pretend he finds us and kicks me out and beats me with like a club the key to the city. I pretend to spit in his face and later his sister shows up at my house and apologizes for him and we fuck again and then I fall asleep happy.
And yet it's peaceful now-- knowing those things will never happen. I'm about to walk into a happy ending- this I know. Even though my secret love may eclipse my friendship. Even though my dreams are unspoken, yet unheard. Even though I shall pass through the epilogue nameless, unloved, unfulfilled, my ends loosened. The sleet is snow. I adapt to the fat wet ass and toss my cigarettes in the sewer and shiver. I catch my breath. I'm ready. I put on my mask and finish the journey alone.