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Thursday, November 10, 2005 

The Story I Forgot I Was Writing (or maybe I should check out my 'my documents' file more often)

(Angie)

Gina’s been my best friend since we were in the third grade and she traded me her peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my home made, from scratch, lasagna. Her mother did too little, mine too much, and out of jealousy our friendship grew.

“Hey yo Angie!” Gina talks like this, we grew up in Brooklyn where she still lives, but still. I don’t know. Sometimes I want to say, “Ey, yo, Gina, just cuz we’re Italian don’t mean shit,” but you know how it is. You love who you love and you take them as they are, funny quirks and all.

I used to imagine Gina and me living in an apartment on the beach together, going to college, dating blond suntanned surfers with long hair and washboard abs. Up until two months before our graduation I figured that dream was coming true, but then Gina got knocked up, pregnant and married. I went off to California alone, realized the truth of rent money, took a crappy room, and dated a dark haired boy with acne and a permanent slouch.

About the time I was losing my old neighborhood accent Gina was teaching little Paulie to walk and so I tend to mark my progress by the pictures that were once mailed to me in dirty white envelopes and now make my mail alert button crazy on my computer.

I got another email today. Little Paulie is fifteen, he has braces but has been blessed with clear skin. I live in San Francisco now, own my own condo, and… and.

Well.

I guess not much else has changed. My fingers feel restless. I stretch them, unstretch them, and then I take a walk. My place is too small for days like this.

“Ey, yo Angie. So when are you coming up? If you were gonna wait until our high school reunion then you’re about six months too late. PS, everyone’s fat. Call me, I love you.”

That’s Gina on my answering machine. Calling me home with her Brooklyn accent that makes something on my insides cringe. I pick up the phone and put it down. I know why they want me home and the reason hasn’t changed for five years. I’ve never seen her youngest baby, Alyssa, and I haven’t held my Godson, Paulie’s, hand in ages. For crying out loud, what kind of friend am I? This message is a week old. That’s the kind of friend I am.

Tomorrow I turn thirty-three and inherit the rest of my parent’s legacy. I have to go home to collect it and I haven’t made flight arrangements or even returned my brother’s calls. I think about the money and I just don’t want it.

***********************************
(Gina)

You see the thing about Angie is, well she’s just got a way of recollecting things all wrong. I should know, I’m her best friend and I’ve seen her rewrite history more times than I’ve put band-aids on my kids after they got the crap kicked out of them for talking trash.

I love Angie, she’s one of the best girls you’ll ever meet. Not for nothin but, she’s gotta come home. Not just to sign the inheritance paperwork, shoot if she really wanted she could get some lawyer to make it so she never has to leave San Francisco, no. She has to come home cuz she has to stop running. I used to think she’d get it out of her system soon enough, but now? I don’t know. My kids are growing up faster than her.

********************************
(Angie)

In the end it’s my brother that gets me to come home. He buys the plane ticket and sends it to me in the mail along with a note that simply says, “I love you.” His handwriting looks like dads and so for a moment I am shaken.

Hey dad, how ya been?

I’m on the plane, gripping the handles, when the man next to me says “I dreamt last night that I died on this flight.”

The stewardess won’t let me switch seats no matter how much I plead, “Sorry ma’am. This flight is full,” and even though the man apologizes I am irate. My parents died on an airplane, one of those crappy little charter things. I hate flying and if this flight weren’t so damn long I would kick the man next to me.

Kick kick kick. I might just do it anyway. I am crying when a passenger suddenly offers to switch seats with me. Everyone’s red, including me, and I wonder what in the hell I’m paying so much money for therapy for. Shouldn’t it be curing these moments of social awkwardness?

I dreamt that my parents died the night before their flight too. I woke up in the middle of the night and almost called to tell them, “Don’t do it. Don’t come to see me,” but I didn’t. I hung up the phone and lay in the darkness thinking that dreams were just dreams. They mean nothing. Except of course, when they do.

When I get to my new seat I close my eyes, try to feign sleep and pray that that man dies in the parking lot from a fatal robbery. I will shoot that man myself when we land if only everyone else here arrives safely.

****************************
(Gina)

Angie cries a lot lately. Which drives me nuts because she was voted girl with the best smile back in high school. She was always smiling, always laughing, then that damn plane crashed, her good for nothin scumbag fiancé left her, and well. We grew up good Catholic girls, and no one, least of all Angie, expected her to still be single.

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