You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.
I have a friend. He’s been my best friend since middleschool. We’ll call him ‘Saul’. We’ve always had a strange relationship. It is very close, like we are two peas in a pod. Our friends always knew that if you got one of us you likely would get the other. I love the man. Not in some sexual way (god no I’ve already done my homosexual stuff and decided it is not for me), but it is love nonetheless, and it is mutual. We have always been polar opposites in many ways, he was big, strong, stocky, and a bit chubby (moreso these days), while I was scrawny and weak (hopefully less-so these days). But we really differed with respect to life choices.
I went to see Saul tonight to have a drink and hang out for a bit. I don’t get to see him much these days, being married and having a family. I feel especially bad that I’ve been trying so hard to have an affair that I’ve put off spending time with him while my wife has been gone.
We hiked into the dark hills above his parents’ house to have a smoke and look out at the city lights shrouded in moonlit fog. It was like old times, we brought some cookies his mom had just baked for us and some mugs of tea. We always have good talks, but also always nice comfortable silences, I do miss this. Lately, he always tells me how much he envies me, how I have it all together with a wife and kid and a steady job. Sometimes I wish I could bring myself to tell him that I’m not who he thinks I am. The friend he once knew and respected is long gone and only a facade remains. Even during our time on the hill I was texting back and forth with Sierra (who was apparently too drunk to manage anything coherent, what a surprise that our planned meeting wasn’t going to work out later).
Ironically, I envy Saul in many ways. He is free, unemployed, unattached. Sadly, most people discount Saul as just a bum and a deadbeat these days. Shame, since he is such a smart and talented guy, and I know he wants more. But, at least he always has some woman to help prop him up, recently it had been some pretty 18 year old thing, before that it was a 24 year old, before that a 32 year old. He was getting older, they were always getting younger.
He had always had a way with women, they flock to him like moths to a candle. He wasn’t handsome by most’s standards, nor fit, but he was smart (in his unschooled kind of way) and charming and fun. The center of every party. Many of our friends seemed to secretly hate him since in our twenties he’d always get the girl. Most of our parties were sausage fests, there would usually be 1 girl for every 5 guys. There was always the girl it seemed at every party, that one girl, maybe she was new, or just hot, or the only one who was single, and all my friends would be trying to bang her (except me because I hid behind my Christianity, but really is was me relegating myself to beta male status). Saul would almost always be the chosen one. I think it was because Saul was never afraid to be Saul. Just simple and honest, no games, just running around having fun as his wild, interesting self. I don’t know how many countless times I’d see him coming out of the bathroom with the girl, towels wrapped around the both of them in the middle of a party. Or we’d be passing out in the living room and he’d have her below a blanket on the biggest couch. When we bar hopped, he’d almost always go home with someone. I always envied him, not in the mean spirited jealous way my other friends did, but in genuine desire to have his charisma, his gift of just being him, and not always trying to be someone you’re not. It took me so long to learn how to do that, and now I find myself having to hide it. More than that, in my Christian days I lived through Saul’s sins, since he had the courage to do things I never dreamed of.
It was Saul’s idea that I try to date my wife. I had just been through a very unpleasant rejection with one of our mutual friends and he knew the pain I was in. Come to find out later, he never thought it would be anything long term, just some easy girl to build my confidence. He certainly never intended for me to marry her! I can’t blame him even though he gave some bad advice, I know he meant well. No, I can only blame myself for the path I’ve taken.
But, it had been nice forgetting all that for a few hours, I thought, as we trekked down the dark slopes through the trees back to the road.
“Alright, love you man, tickle the little man for me when he gets home.”
“Love you too dude, will do,” I said as I opened my car door, and then with my piss-poor Sam Elliott imitation, “Keep takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.”
“The Dude abides,” he chuckles at our usual parting and walks off into the night.
At least my heart is a little warmer as I’m bedding down for the night. Sierra went silent, probably passed out at some party somewhere. No word from Anne, and my email is quiet. But, for some reason, tonight I can smile and not care.