all i really wanna do is baby be friends with you
I looked over, he was shaking out a bag, and I got this flash that I couldn’t believe he was going to smoke crack right now, but then he pulled out a sandwich and spread the contents of the bag on the bread, and I realized it was not crack, it was mustard. I smiled at myself not because no one smokes crack, but because sandwiches on a sunny Saturday in civic center are an indication that you’ve gained a little more than you’ve lost.
Here is another instance of that:
Last night E and I were at Club Deluxe drinking Newcastles and discussing whether one could eliminate a mouse problem by simply rubbing a cat all over a room. There was a live band and a woman doing an impressive Billy Holliday. E’s friend arrived. We always seem to be meeting up with his friends when we go out, and I’m about to find out why, but for the time being I’m happy to hang-out with them, because they are charming, musical, and adult (E is 36, and they are several years older).
The current friend in residence is enjoying a bit of long-coming fame for a hit song on the radio, his rock cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony.” He has a 14-year-old daughter and he tells me that she is proud of her old dad when this song is played at her school dances. I think this says something about what kind of kid she must be as if you have ever heard the lyrics, you would surely wince at the thought of your dad singing them. He asks if I have any advice for raising a teenage girl, and the only thing that I can think of is, don’t let her drive in cars with boys. Don’t let her drive in cars with girls either. Pretty much everything can be recovered from more easily than a head-on collision.
He tells me that “To Ramona” is one of his favorite Dylan songs, and recites the opening lines with ease. As he is leaving to pick his daughter up from one of these school dances where they play her dad’s song, he turns to me and says quite seriously, “I hope everything works out for you,” like he knows something that I don’t. At this moment I am struck by two simultaneous thoughts. First, that he is quite good-looking, and second that musicians are deadly, and they are all musicians.
After he is gone, E and I continue whatever we were doing before he arrived, and somehow fall into a discussion of our ‘relationship,’ and he informs me with a quiet kindness that he doesn’t see this going anywhere romantically, but that he would really like to keep seeing each other as friends. I’m a little shocked, and thinking that dude just stepped all over MY line. And he is apologetic, but maintains that this is what he wants. He makes me promise that I won’t stop returning his phone calls.
When we are half-way to my apartment, I have what can only be described as an epiphany: We can be friends, we can be friends; I can be friends with a man. I’m floored by this realization. As we pull up in front of my stoop he starts saying how he’s working the next day, but he’ll give me a call after that– and I interrupt him with, “E, you don’t have to call me everyday, I mean we aren’t best friends yet.” I think this was rather good, and we laugh and hug and say goodbye and I go up to my room where my eyes only water momentarily, because my ego hurts, but it will get stronger, that is the nature of the muscle, and I will be left with more than I have lost.
So, today I dyed my hair red and began again. Again? Again, again, again.