The dining room has a beautiful view usually, but now isn’t one of those times. It’s 10:01 p.m. on a Monday and gently raining, the only illumination on the yards that stretch out below coming from street lights and the far-off glow of a soccer field. The bulbs in the overhead light should probably be switched out. They’re intensely yellow, and it turns almost everything but my computer and phone case the same shade of marigold.
My best friend is sitting across from me, our collective homework spread across the table, hot chocolate in hand. My parents left this morning to Mexico for a week, and she’s staying with me to avoid her family. Generic lofi music is playing from her speaker. Neither of us are actually doing homework, though— she’s texting her boyfriend and relaying their conversations to me, and I’m switching back and forth between a game of solitaire and my tumblr dashboard, occasionally jotting things down. She takes a picture of my dog.
“Fuck, dude,” she laughs, turning her phone to me, “My feet are in this photo.”
I laugh along. Everything seems funnier with her. We badly impersonate the random spoken bits in whatever song is playing, putting on exaggerated trans-Atlantic accents like old Hollywood stars. We promise each other that we’ll get our work done once we finish our hot chocolate. We’re lying, but it’s the principle of the matter.
It’s comfortable. Familiar. She passes me half a stick of gum and I take a sip of cold tap water with it so I can feel it in my teeth and sinuses like a punch.
Time passes like honey through a sieve.
The music is briefly broken by a video someone sends her on how to bite someone’s lip while you kiss them. The girl in it has obvious lip fillers. She demonstrates on her thumb, and both of us wince and giggle at the sound the suction makes. My best friend copies the link and sends it to me, “for reference”. We pretend like I didn’t have my first kiss sloppy and filled with teeth at an airport, saying goodbye to a boy I’d never see again. I pretend I don’t remember the taste of cheap coffee and well-meaning earnesty. We’ve done this forever, since we were old enough to walk down to corner store by her house by ourselves and buy some sort of stupid sugar spray with .01% alcohol content, pretending to be drunk off of it.
These days, we schedule in some quality time with whiskey my family friends made and chardonnay from a roadtrip my mother and I took to San Francisco. Friday is when we’ll get drunk, and I promised to let her try to beat my score on the Just Dance 2014’s version of Kiss You by One Direction if she lets me try to beat her record on Nelly Furtado’s Maneater (Just Dance 2012). Neither of us will be able to, but we’ll have a good time trying.
Tuesday, we go to the hair store in the afternoon. It’s a truly beautiful day— over 70 degrees F and sunny enough that we both take off our sweatshirts in the car. We stop in to a Sally’s beauty store to buy hair dye, in preparation for my sibling coming down to stay for a night. My best friend, in an effort to piss off her father, is going burgundy. I, in an effort to remember that I’m the same that I’ve always been, am going back to the same blonde I was as a child.
She buys us ginger ales at the gas station on the way back, and I pay for the gas because I’m the only one with enough cash.
When we get home, my sibling is already in the driveway, and we get Chinese food delivered from the place my family has gone to since I was about five. The man working the register gives me a wave and asks me how my family is, and we make idle small talk. The golden hour is makes my hair turn red. Neither color will exist for much longer.
Dinner is a rapid affair, with gossip about family friends flying between bites of food. My sibling tells us that one of their childood best friends and their roommate will be coming over. I haven’t seen one of them in probably three years, and I’ve been completely unaware of the other’s existence. I smile and ignore the squirming uncomfortableness in the pit of my stomach, the little piece in me that wants to claim the house as my territory and make them leave.
They arrive when the dye is soaking into my best friend’s hair and my sibling is still painting mine with bleach. My best friend’s boyfriend, who I haven’t met until then, arrives when it’s halfway done. I briefly wonder if he’ll remember me like this forever, plastic bag on my head, sitting on a stool, old shirt getting stained by bleach, no lipstick, melted mascara, and my bare legs curled up. I briefly wonder why I don’t care if he does.
It’s over faster than I expect it to be— my bleach and my best friend’s dye are rinsed out, my hair is dried, my toner is put in, my toner is rinsed out, my hair is dried again. The boyfriend has left with my best friend, but they’ll be back by 12:30 a.m.
I wait for her in the living room, and we come back, she talks shit about his ex-girlfriend. That girl deserves it. She didn’t treat the poor boy right at all.
The rest of the week passes in a foggy blur. We sit in the dining room. We eat, we talk, we play cards. We go to the grocery store and buy Oreos and lemon popsicles. I read her an except from a Humans Of New York story that makes us both start crying and laughing. We walk the dog together afterwards, me ignoring how much it hurts to move, and we talk about When Harry Met Sally. We go through the pile of boys that I didn’t like as a kid, deciding which ones could potentially be my Harry.
“None of them deserve you,” my best friend says. We’re walking up a hill to get back to my house. It’s a lot less steep then I remember.
She leaves on Sunday morning, and I sit in the quiet of my house. It’s sunny for once. I close the dining room doors and open the back door and the kitchen window, and I make myself some biscuits for the week. My mother texts me about a doctor’s appointment— that week was the longest I had gone in months without seeing someone to try to fix my body. My phone goes on silent. Everything can wait because it’s beautiful day, and there’s fresh biscuits, and the pain isn’t so bad, and there’s crocuses in the yard. It all can wait.
i love you and your writing so much i’ll write a longer comment later i’m in a parking lot
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