I knew he did.
“You can’t…you can’t just walk away, Tristan. We can talk to each other. About them. We can help each other remember.” My biggest fear ever was the idea of forgetting.
He kept walking.
I hurried beside him once more. “Besides, that’s the point of becoming someone’s friend. To get to know them. To have someone to talk to.” My chest was rapidly rising and falling as I became more and more upset with him for walking away in the midst of our conversation. In the midst of the most painful and satisfying kiss my lips had ever experienced. He was helping me remember what it had been like to feel happy, and I hated him for walking away. I hated him for taking that small moment of lust that faintly reminded me of the love that had been taken away from me. “God. Why do you have to be such a…such a…monster?!”
He turned to me, and a split second of misery tinged his eyes before his jaw and his facial expression hardened. “I don’t want you, Elizabeth.” He tossed his hands up in frustration and stepped toward me. “I don’t want anything to do with you.” He stepped closer. I stepped back. “I don’t want to talk to you about your fucking dead husband.” Another step closer. “I don’t want to tell you shit about my dead wife.” Step, step. Back, back. “I don’t want to touch you.” Closer. Backward. “I don’t want to kiss you.” Step. “I don’t want to lick you.” Back. Back. Step. Step. “And I damn sure don’t want to be your fucking friend. So leave me alone and just shut the hell up!” he hollered, standing over me, his voice rocketing from his mouth like a clap of thunder, making me jump with fright.
As I took one final step backward, the heel of my shoe skidded over a rock, causing me to tumble down the hill. Every bump and thump was felt throughout my body the whole way down. Minus a few bruises and a ton of embarrassment, I was fine.
Tristan was standing over me within an instant. “Shit,” he muttered. “Are you okay? Here,” he said, reaching his hand out to me.
I refused his offer and stood on my own. His eyes were filled with concern, but I didn’t care. They would probably be filled with hate within a moment’s time.
Seconds before the fall, he had told me to shut up, so that was exactly what I’d do. I gave him exactly what he wanted. I limped back home in silence, not once looking his way, even though I could see his pathetic stare out of the corner of my eye.
“He pushed you down a hill?!” Faye shouted into the phone. The moment I’d returned from my interaction with Tristan, I’d called her. I needed my best friend to tell me that no matter what, I was right and Tristan was wrong.
Even if I had called him a monster.
“Well, not exactly. He yelled at me, and I kind of tripped.”
“After he kissed you?”
“Ugh. I hate him. I hate him so much.”
I nodded. “I hate him too.”
That was a lie, but I couldn’t tell her my true thoughts about Tristan. About how he and I had so much in common. I couldn’t tell anyone. I hardly even told myself.
“But since we are on the subject, tell me…” Faye said, and I could almost see her grin through the phone. “Did he use tongue? Did he growl? Was he shirtless? Did he motorboat you? Did you touch his abs? Did you lick his sharp jaw? Is he the size of a horse? Did you giddy up? Did you find his Nemo? Did you Grace his Frankie? Did you Justin his Timberlake?”
“I can’t handle you.” I chuckled, but my mind was still thinking about the kiss and what it meant. Maybe it meant nothing. Or perhaps, everything.
She sighed. “Come on, give me something. I’m currently trying to get laid here, and this phone call is killing my vibe.”
“What do you mean you’re trying to get laid?” I gasped. “Faye, are you having sex right now?”
“What do you mean? Like, sex-sex?”
“Well, if you mean is there a penis currently sitting in my vagina, then yes. I guess you could semi call that sex.”
“Oh my God, Faye! Why the hell would you answer the phone?!”
“Um, because chicks before dicks? Like, literally.” She laughed. I gagged.
“Hi, Liz,” I heard Matty call from the background. Gag again. “I put you on the work schedule for thirty hours next week.”
“I’m hanging up.”
“What? No. I have plenty of time right now.”
“Ow, stop, Matty. I told you not to bite that.” Oh my fucking gosh, my best friend was a freak. “Okay, babycakes, I gotta get going. I think I’m bleeding. But as for you, at least find some time to meditate and clear your head.”
“And by meditate you mean…?”
“Tequila. Top-shelf, burns in the belly, aids in bad decisions, tequila.”
That sounded about right.
April 3rd, 2014
Four Days Until Goodbye
I stood on my parents’ back porch staring at the pouring rain hammering against the swing set Dad and I had built for Charlie. The tire swing swayed back and forth against the wooden frame.
“How are you holding up?” Dad asked, walking outside to join me. Zeus followed behind him and found a place to sit and stay dry in the corner. I turned to Dad and stared at a face that resembled mine in almost every way, except that there were a few more years of age and wisdom in his eyes.
I didn’t reply to his question, but turned back to the rain.