Saturday, June 21, 2014

It could have been me

June 20, 1980 (about an event from 1972)

We dragged him out of his house to meet her, telling him we had something special we knew he needed, and he being who he was had no idea of what we meant, even though she did, and wanted to do it because he needed it, and her boyfriend, our best friend, cheated on her so much, it was all right for her to do it with this one – if only out of pity.
While I pretended like I was one of the conspirators, and in fact, had help organize the whole thing, but the whole time felt like our best friend, and felt justifiably jealous, wish she was taking pity on me the way she was taking pity on our friend, her mouth around my mouth, instead of around his, me inside of her the way he would soon be.
Our friend lived his life in one room and didn’t think he needed anything beyond it, having made a dip in his old coach that he fit perfectly into, and knew the route to the refrigerator and bathroom so well, he could make it there and back in the dark even before the TV commercials ended.
We knew better than he did, and I knew better than we how much he, we, me needed to be with her – at least once, to make something better happen than just cheer of one TV program coming to an end before the next one started
And during that whole drive to where she lived, I saw him in the back seat through the rear view mirror, thinking about how good he would soon have it, how much he would enjoy it, and how when it was over he would be a different man, unable to go back to his old life, or to watch another TV show over some stupid TV dinner, and I kept wonder how much he would take to let me switch places with him, not telling her or our best friend about it, until she felt me beside her in the dark, and I imagined just how it would feel, just I had imagined it a million times, always feeling guilty about me thinking like that about the girl my best friend loved, and how much more pleasure I got from thinking it anyway, and how much pain I felt now, when I knew it was real, but it was the real for someone else not me.
And when we stopped the car and we walked him to the door and we rang the bell, he still had no clue as to what we were up to and so did not know how good to feel, just as I knew too well how bad it felt when the door opened and her hand came out and pulled him in, and we went back to the car to wait until it was over, me imagining every moment I was missing, and hating myself for missing it, hating myself for wishing it was me, and hating him the man for whom we were doing this for being there, when I could not, was no brave enough to do what I got him to do, and later, during the long drive back to drop him off back at his apartment and his couch, how horrible the silence was, how I could not look up at his happy face in the rear view mirror, and how long I would think about that moment – perhaps always, perhaps thinking it could have been me.

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