can i use your phone?


the sun was partially breaking through the clouds, making its way past the blinds and onto the right side of my body. the dog lay lazily in the center of the room. on the coffee table, a bag of tortilla chips and homemade guacamole. the two roommates were screaming, slapping each other high-fives. the girls were on their laptops, occasionally looking up to see what all the fuss was about. on the other side of the country, the celtics were up by ten, up by six, and then up by seven.

there was some talk about the food. adam called aaron cheap, and aaron disagreed. who were these people? how the hell did i end up here? should i be at home, instead, watching the same televised sporting event with my retired parents? sure, i liked these people enough. i envisioned one of them, maybe even myself, getting up and screaming, "i fucking hate all of you!" and then storming off. where did this thought come from? i didn't hate them. and nobody in the group seemed to feel that way, either. but it was there. it was possible.

earlier that day, i was at the park eating tacos with my friend. this black kid came up to us, asked to borrow one of our phones. my friend was skeptical, asked what he needed it for, but i just handed mine over. this kid could've run away with it. if that happened, depending on my mood, i would've chased after him, or i would've just kept on eating my taco. that's how much i don't know myself. how will i react in any given situation? i won't know until it happens. he was a nice enough kid. he said he was gonna move to georgia because his dad is in the military.

as the story goes, corey got really drunk, and aaron tried to make a move on her. he hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, and he wasn't even drunk. the guy has a thing for her, it's obvious. he doesn't seem to know what to say, though. do you know how sometimes you hear a perfect song, read a perfect story, and it's as though those words have already existed? as though that song or story was always in the universe, and it was just a matter of time before somebody put them to paper and made it popular? well, this guy is like the opposite of that perfect song or story. he has a bunch of lines nobody wants to hear, superfluous comments that go nowhere, mean nothing.

the two girls talked of uncertainty, which was fine because they had graduated high school in 2004, and they were in their early twenties. they talked of moving beds, humidity in the south, storage units, living in fresno, going to graduate school at cal, studying birds, buying a home. all the while i sat in the backseat, keeping quiet, playing with my sunglasses, wondering if i was going to end up like the orange man at car dealerships, the one who just blows around in the wind.

i think i'm outgrowing it, this phase of uncertainty. but maybe it's just the weather, the time of day, something i ate three hours ago. tomorrow never knows, it could be back and stronger than ever. and that's why i'm so afraid of living.

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