Monday, August 26, 2013
Conversations With Jess: Mending Fences
JESS: So, how's Brandon?
ME: Still butthurt. It really sucks. I haven't gone this long without talking to him in years.
JESS: So, what in hell happened with you two? You've been friends forever; why'd he all of a sudden go all Biggie Smalls on you, Tupac?
ME: I have no idea.
JESS: Well, what pissed him off?
ME: He was over at my house hanging out, as usual. We were arguing over the remote and he started talking smack about my taste in television programming.
JESS: I've got his back on that one, you watch some sketchy shit.
ME: That's not what made him mad. We were arguing over the TV, then he went to heat up some chili and spilled it on my new Paige denim skirt.
JESS: Annoying, but still not seeing why HE'S mad.
ME: So, we're sitting on the couch later and he asks me about work. . .
ME: . . .so, I tell him about work then ask him about his girlfriend.
ME: Then he asks me to give him my honest opinion about something.
JESS: Whoomp, there it is.
JESS: Jen, when a guy asks for your honest opinion, he doesn't really want your honest opinion. He wants you to tell him that his shitty life choices are solid, his relationship is perfect, and that size really doesn't matter.
ME: I call bullshit on the last one.
JESS: Every woman calls bullshit on the last one, we just don't tell men that.
ME: If he didn't really want an honest opinion, then why in hell did he ask me? I believe my historical lack of verbal filter speaks for itself.
JESS: He asked you because you're the only woman in his life who doesn't kiss his ass.
ME: I don't kiss anyone's ass. If you want shit sugar-coated, call Cap'n Crunch.
JESS: But, seriously. Who are the other women in Brandon's life?
ME: His mom, his girlfriend, and the ever-expanding army of skanks sniffing after him like like they're DEA hounds and he's an eight-ball of Bolivian marching powder.
JESS: Exactly. His mom is going to think that everything he does is perfect. His 20-year-old girlfriend is so blinded by the fact that she's getting poked by a 27-year-old regulation hottie that she'll tell him he craps sunflowers and pisses champagne, and the skank army will say anything they think will culminate in having his pants dropped faster than Rosie O'Donnell on a greased firepole.
ME: Yeah, I don't really operate on that frequency.
JESS: Oh, I'm well aware of that, believe me. And Brandon is aware of it too. That's why he asked for your opinion. And, that's why he's pissed off; because , secretly, he knows you're right. You're making him think, and we all know that thinking isn't exactly Brandon's strong suit.
ME: True. It's a good thing that boy's pretty.
JESS: So very pretty. If I weren't married I'd tap that like he was an Alaskan oil field and I was George Bush.
ME: Marital status has never stood in Brandon's way before.
JESS: Duly noted. So, what are you up to today?
ME: Thinking about going to the gym.
JESS: I'm a lazy bastard so if you're looking to me to motivate you you'll be sorely disappointed.
ME: Oh, I have plenty of motivation. The local fire department works out there five days a week.
JESS: Oh dear God. Are they aware of your penchant for men with big hoses?
ME: It is magical, Jess. So many lovely men lined up like jewels in a Tiffany's window. It's like watching "Magic Mike" on a constant loop, only without that whole extraneous plot line thing.
JESS: Yeah, what was up with that? Less talk-y, more strip-y, Channing. So does your gym offer free membership to firefighters or something?
ME: Yup. I think it's a brilliant move on the part of 24 Hour Fitness. What better way to ensure female membership retention than to pack the house with sweaty, muscular men?
JESS: Brilliant indeed. Well, have a great workout. try not to pull a groin muscle. . .yours or anyone else's.
ME: Yeah, yuk it up, Freakshow.
A mere forty minutes later I was peddling furiously on the elliptical trainer, sweating harder than Paula Deen at a Black Panthers rally. Squinting through the miasma of testosterone and and Axe body spray in hopes of a glimpse at a muscular fireman, my gaze fell on a familiar face.
I climbed down gingerly from the machine, my legs still wobbling like a newborn colt's from the exertion and walked slowly toward the young man bench-pressing in the center of the weight room.
"Hey, you." I said with a shaky smile. "Need a spotter?"
Brandon looked up at me resentfully, then silently returned to bench-pressing.
"So, that's it?" I asked. "You won't even say 'hi' to me?"
Brandon lowered the weight slowly, then rolled to his feet and began walking toward the locker room.
"C'mon, B." I cajoled, following him past the treadmills. "We've been friends for eight years. Eight. Years. And now you can't bring yourself to say 'hi' to me because I called you on your shit? That's what I do! You KNOW that! It's part of my goddamned charm!"
Brandon whirled around and opened his mouth to speak. Then, he thought better of it, turned on his heel and stomped angrily into the men's room. I stood there quietly, then felt a warm hand on my shoulder.
"He'll come around, Sweetie." said the elderly man behind me. "A boy always does for a pretty girl."
I smiled weakly. "I don't know. He's pretty mad."
The man patted my shoulder once more. "If he really loves you, he'll be back."
I shook my head rapidly. "Oh. . .no. Big no. Giant, heaping piles of no. We aren't. . .like that. We're just friends."
"Even better," the man said. "Girlfriends come and go but a real friend is always there." he gave me a comforting smile.
"He punched the wall." I said. "And he called me a judgmental bi. . .umm, a judgmental bad person."
He chuckled. "Maybe you were a judgmental bitch, Honey, but if that was his reaction then I'd say you probably hit the nail right on the head. Trust me, he'll see that eventually."
"Thank you." I nodded gratefully. "That kid annoys the ever-lovin hell outta me, but I've kind of gotten used to having him around."
Glumly, I made my way to the locker room and pouted in the sauna for twenty minutes before showering, dressing, and heading out into the afternoon drizzle to my car.
I almost didn't see it at first. It wasn't until I slid the keys into the ignition and looked up that I saw the note. A small slip of paper, torn from what appeared to be a magazine. I slid from the cab of my SUV and plucked the paper from beneath my windshield wiper. Unfolding it, I saw a single word.
He may not have forgiven me, and hell, he may never forgive me. But I feel like the door was opened just a crack. And you know what they say: a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Or in this case, a single word.