“You know that one piece you wrote? You know?”
You’re mumbling a little now; you’re a little hazy, I’m sure of it. Even though I can’t see your eyes in the darkened car with flashing lights and clicking whatzits that always makes me feel like the kid in Flight Of The Navigator. But I know you are, because you haven’t eaten anything today but a bowl of Lucky Charms. You could have told me that before I mixed the screwdrivers. But then we wouldn’t have wobbled over my collage of ‘60’s and ‘70’s advertisements, cackling and screeching like steroid-induced parrots. We wouldn’t have debated Andy Warhol’s significant irrelevance. We wouldn’t have reached our feverish telepathy and flagrant adoration. Not that we needed vodka to get there, we just needed it to get there faster.
Anyways, as absurd as it may sound, I really need those things, Tim. They’re so on, they’re so us, they’re so eerily right, and I’ve been missing them for so long, my God, so long and I just can’t be away from you anymore, and…
“Why are you smiling? You know what piece I mean – the one about your father”
Of course I know what one. I know what one.
“Yes – what about it?”
“Can I – I don’t know, would you let me – could – I set it to – music?”
“I smile the kind of smile that’s so big it sends the little true tears out. But it’s dark in the car, and I can send them back, so I do. You’ve always been like this magnanimous hot tub for my soul. I just slide into this unshakeable warmth around you. God, it feels so hyper-heightening and numbing, like only intense heat can be.
“I would love that, Tim. I think that’s probably the most lovely thing anyone’s ever said to me.” I say something about us being Brick and Skipper but without the Tennessee Williams stilted poetry passing as lines and the latent homosexuality and you’re smiling, you bastard. How can anyone with any sanity or literary knowledge agree with a statement like that? Yet you do, of course you do. Because we’re here and we’re the same and how could I forget how essential it all is…how can we be expected to be rational or human unless we’re near one another? How can anyone approach friendship like this?
Time’s flying by like manic geese who’ve ditched the V altogether. We’re at Pizzeria Uno now and talking like Hispanics with eight cups of coffee in them and you’re telling me you wish the Biblical practice of kissing your best guy friend could be reinstated because you’d do it right now, because that’s just how David and Jonathan we are. And It’s so odd and sincere and makes me wonder if Tennessee Williams had a hand in writing the Bible.
But it slows down finally, which is a small relief, because we haven’t stopped connecting the whole evening. The icy mistress of reality has slipped in the car and is sitting between us, trying to pry apart the superglue of joyous friendship. We will not see each other for possibly longer this time. Possibly longer than ever. I hate that the mistress continues sitting there, just intruding like that babblesome woman who comes in at the end of Brief Encounter and won’t let Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard just talk, for God’s sake, and say what they need to say. But we’ve reached the last line and it’s better to blurt it out than realize that the show will never happen again with the same people, the same electricity. It’ll become summer stock through lame phone calls and limp e-mails. I hope I’m stronger this time and don’t forget. I hope you never do either.
Now we stand in the hallway of your dorm and I fiddle with the doorknob and mutter about how we deserve way better than this. Suddenly you’re reaching out to hug me and it’s so surprising because we never have, really, before. All the clucks and knuckleheads I’ve hugged and never the one that matters so much. Of course we’re bad at it, fourth-grade-play PDA bad, but it’s more real that way. It’s not a kiss but it’s pretty damn close.