Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us.
The party wasn’t quite going as I’d hoped. I’d brought Abigail that evening, picked her up as usual and driven to my friend’s place in the city. It seems we were sliding inevitably into the friend’s zone after a few dates. That night, she met Karen’s ex, Tom who was in town visiting. Tom was tall, he towered over me at 6 foot 3, handsome, very clean cut, and dumb. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt, but Tom really wasn’t the sharpest spoon in the drawer, but he was a pretty boy. We sat in the atrium and smoked sweet and spicy prickly-pear flavored hookah, Abigail cuddled with me on the couch at first, but gradually moved away from me and hung on Tom’s every word. The ass was clumsy and was screwing with the smoking circle by hogging the hose and pulling on it so three times the hookah tipped over while he sat there holding the hose and not puffing, and not passing. Several times I had to grab burning coals before they landed on a pillow or someone’s legs. I wasn’t looking good, I felt like an uptight asshole, and I probably was given I was highly irritated with Tom and Abigail. At least Karen and her current boyfriend were annoyed at them equally.
We finished smoking, and made some midnight quesadillas and opened another bottle of wine. Abigail was still all about Tom. Karen finally looked at me and asked me if I’d help her and Max beat the last stage on Expert that was giving them trouble on Rock Band on their Xbox, we left Tom and Abigail to it in the atrium and went to the living room. I usually do guitar, but I took drums this time, I prefer drums since it seems easier to me to play real guitar than Rock Band guitar in some ways. At least with the drums I could work on my rhythm. Max took guitar and executed the opening picado riff before I came in on the snares and kick, Karen took vocal. She really had the perfect voice for this song, smooth and bittersweet, drenched in far off longing.
“Pack up, don’t stray, oh say say say oh say say say…”
I held the beat steady as Max wailed through the solo and Karen’s voice rose, crashing through the crescendo.
“Aaaaaahhahh aaaaaahhahh, wait, they don’t love you like I love you!”
We nailed it with a near perfect score. I threw the sticks as Max cheered and pretended to smash the guitar controller, Karen hugged me as I got up.
“She’s not worth it, find someone who loves you,” she whispered to me.
“I know,” I replied and grinned.
After that point, Abigail was really only hanging around me to get to Tom since I was her connection to that circle. In the end, nobody liked Abigail, except me. Tom couldn’t care for her, Karen didn’t much either, none of my other friends were a fan. But, here I was head over heels for this girl that clearly didn’t care much for me. I was jealous of Tom, even a bit mad at him for stealing my girl, but how could I hate the guy? I had nothing against him, and it wasn’t him anyways, it was her, and it was me.