9.29.2003

It’s always the same reliable disappointments: I wanted quiet I wanted it so bad and when I finally get it of course I can’t stand it.

The important thing is not to lose perspective and keep in mind how the whole mess started. It was such a stupid thing. Some movers had put a wooden plank across the doorway. It flipped up when I walked across and nailed TRUE--who was behind me--in the shin.

She squeaked with pain and doubled over. She hobbled out onto the sidewalk and limped in front of me.

I felt something drop in my stomach—my fingertips went into my mouth.

“Are you OK?” I whispered, too low for her to hear.

“Fuck this shit, maaaaan.” She gave up trying to walk and collapsed onto the sidewalk, gripping her shin. People glanced down and stepped gingerly around her. I stood where I was and tried to look over her shoulder to see if it was bleeding.

“What the fuck, you’re just going to hang back like that?” she hissed.

“I’m right here,” I said, stepping forward. She was cupping the injured spot with both hands, as if to shield it from view.

“Let me see,” I said.

“Fuck you,” she shouted. I was surprised and scared to see tears running down her face.

“C’mon…are you bleeding?”

“You’re fucking embarrassed, aren’t you?”

“What?”

“You are, you fucking bougie asshole…you just stood back there like that…”

“TRUE, I’m sorry—I’m here.”

“No you aren’t,” she was sobbing uncontrollably, shaking and gripping her shin.

“Let me see it.”

“No!”

“TRUE!”

I glanced over my shoulder and saw that a small crowd of onlookers had gathered in front of the building. I tried to come up with the magic words that would make her snap out of it.

“Let’s go back upstairs,” I said, thinking back to our happy, slightly bored selves of five minutes ago.

“I’m such a goddamn klutz!” she whimpered. Her hands had fallen from her leg, revealing a dark purple line across her shin.

“Let’s put some ice on that,” I said, offering her my hand.

“Don’t,” she said, pushing it away.

“You weren’t there for me,” she said, mournfully.

“TRUE, c’mon.”

“You weren’t.”

“You know how I am! I can’t handle it if something happens to you.”

“What the fuck?” she moaned.

“Everything slows down…it’s like I can’t move…”

“You’re supposed to be my friend; you’re supposed to be able to handle it…”

“I can,” I pleaded. “I am. Give me a chance.”

“I’m sick of it, Sterling. Sick, sick, sick.”

“TRUE, please.”

She sniffled and rubbed her nose and turned to watch the traffic. I called her by her real name and told her that I was sorry but she refused to budge. People hurried past us smelling like cigarettes and sleep and department store perfume.

They had their shadows fastened to their sensible shoes…they held their future in both hands along with their breakfast.

I’d never been so jealous in all my life.


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