Thursday, September 27, 2007

Skating Lessons

You came to meet me at the beer garden, overrun by trendy Manhattanites “slumming it” in quaint outerborough New York and they wouldn’t let you in because of your skateboard. I stood outside the door with you and we took turns throwing puzzled looks at the bouncer, plotting ways to throw it over the fence without knocking a hipster unconscious. We settled on the deli down the street where you bought a pack of Marlboro Menthol Lights and let the Pakistani man behind the counter keep the change in exchange for holding onto your skateboard, and I made fun of you for smoking menthols and I made fun of you for your newfound vegetarianism and you laughed and rolled your eyes at me—not bothering to dignify my sadistic sense of humor with a response.

20-minute waits for pitchers of Spaten poured by German baristas and we were restless and we weren’t drunk enough, but M breaks some weed onto a dollar bill and you roll it for me because I don’t realize how buzzed I am until I have to do something so precise. The crowded tables around us stick their noses into the air and there’s a chorus of what’s-that-smells.

When D and M explode into an impromptu beer fight, everyone’s covered in beer and asked to leave, but we don’t even try to argue because we’re drunk and high now and another drink is the last thing we need. But we giggle like teenagers to the bar across the street and get one anyway and end up sitting on the bumper of someone’s obnoxious birdshit-covered Ford Explorer, watching C being drunker than I can ever remember seeing him.

The Pakistani grocery store clerk laughs when we stumble drunkenly back into the store, a huge shift from our earlier composed selves and as we leave, I make my mind up that I want to learn how to skateboard, now. I perch my high-heeled feet on top of the wobbly skateboard and cling hard to your forearms as you guide me down the sidewalk. The wheels rattle along the bumpy sidewalk sending vibrations up my legs while I try to focus my bleary vision, but I keep hiccupping into giggles and jumping off. I try one more time and we start our awkward dance down the street, but I lean too far to one side and the board slides out from under me and in an instant I’m airborne, squeaking and trying to regain my balance, but you grab my arms tight and I bury my nose into your chest. We stand there laughing like that for a while.

When I find a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay on your desk, I think that maybe we have more in common that I first thought—that maybe you are someone I could fall for after all. But I know that I never will. I know that you never will either. And I wonder why that is.



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