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me and him

I called him up two days ago, sat on the grass with my phone up to my right ear and listened to his phone ringing, wondering where he was or what he was doing or who he was with; I hadn’t seen him in a long time and I missed his jokes and his laughter and the way he made me feel alive, and I missed the times we would go for a drive in his convertible with the top down, singing at the top of our lungs—to hell with the rain or the sun, the road was ours and Nature would obey, she had to—while we moved further and further away on the dead-straight river of tar that led away from our cosy homes and familiar bars into a world we didn’t know, and when we felt it was time we would stop, turn around and drive back the other way in solemn silence as if we were transporting the corpse of a dearly-beloved friend in the back seat (we once did, but that’s another story for another time), and I would look at the world flashing past us and would amuse myself trying to slow things down by tracking them with my eyes as if I could keep up with them—I could, for a while, but not for long, things went by too fast for me—and soon he would usually turn the radio on but let me tune it to whatever station I liked, he didn’t mind, blues or country or jazz or heavy metal, as long as it was music and as long as there was life and as long as it wasn’t the news and so we would sit there in his convertible driving along at a hundred and twenty miles an hour heading back to our cosy homes and familiar bars in silence, a stark contrast to our exuberance just a short while ago; to this day I cannot figure out why it was so, why it always turned out that way, and that phone call I made two days ago was me trying to find out why the silence had spread beyond our drive back, had exited the car along with us and blanketed our friendship in its disgusting embrace, sticky and slimy like an eel and as uncomfortable as a bed of nails.

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