“You’re never happy.”
He was the saddest sight, standing on First Ave. in his scuffed Nikes, Sears Levis, and polo shirt, staring back at me. His eyes this childish brown before making up his mind to put up with my ungrateful ass, “Eh, never mind. Let’s go get a cup of joe at SpeakEasy.”
But I stood my ground. I fought, even though I already knew I lost. He said it. He can’t unsay it. He can’t explain it away. I don’t want to be here.
“What do you mean? I’m happy lots of times,” I replied, tersely, hating the sound of my voice, yet knowing he was right, my “best” friend, my former fiancé, my long-suffering savior. I searched in my Rolodex of memories for one irrefutable piece of evidence to show him and go, “Here, asshole, look, you’re wrong.” I couldn’t.
“I’m not happy to you?”
He shook his head, sadly. “I can’t make you happy. I don’t know what will.”
“I thought you did. I thought I was.”
I think it was at this point that a part of me began to withdraw from the friendship. I mean, what’s the point of hanging around someone who thinks so little of me, so convinced, so convincingly? I could get the same therapy in a padded cell.
What if this wasn’t about me being happy but me not being happy around him?
Years later, a family later, he would almost gleefully announce that he was suffering from anorexia, like all the cool kids got this disease — with pictures in the fucking mail, no less. I didn’t know what to make of it then and I don’t know what to make of it now. I doubt I ever will.
I’m pretty sure he hates my guts, and that’s fine. I’m also pretty sure, he’s been right all along. I have spent the rest of my life after that incident somewhere in the late ’90s trying to prove him wrong.