My run was rather uneventful last night. No catcalls, no guys following or trying to talk to me, and certainly no one trying to start a fight. Or maybe there were assholes trying to start shit but I just didn’t hear because I had my headphones in my tiny ear canals (seriously, purchasing the right-sized earbuds is a hassle).
Thing is… I was asking for it. I was hoping the big, scary city of Baltimore would bare its teeth and throw me into a Colosseum to fend for my own. Instead I got homeless people leering at me for the paper in my pocket. Joke’s on them; I had none.
This was’t a very perspective aligning exercise (pun intended) at all. At least that’s what I thought until I got to Sam’s house.
I sprinted to Sam’s apartment (because Pigtown is the sort of place you shouldn’t dilly dally) and knocked on the front door like I was the Gestapo looking for Jews. The door swung open and there was Sam. “Get your ass in here, you dumb shit.”
“Hey, I love you too, you douche canoe.”
“Why can’t you be normal and just drink when you have problems?! I’m gonna move to a different apartment in a safer place so you don’t try to kill yourself on the way to my house.”
“I’m not trying to kill myself; I have a gun for that. I drank last night and it was only a temporary fix. Life and death matters tend to put shit in order, but that was a terrible run as far as life and death go. Not a single person took a swing at me. I was expecting more from a city that had riots a few months ago. Besides… who said I had problems?”
“That fucker.” I don’t like it when Sam knows about my problems. He immerses himself into them and I feel embarrassed when everything is on parade for him. He’s one of those people that has his shit together and I feel ashamed when he knows just how much I fuck up. But that’s typically how things work out since Sam and Zach are cousins and I shoot the breeze with Zach all the time. “So how much did you hear?”
“A lot of it. However much Zach felt like saying. He liked pointing out the fact that you turn into a little bitch when you’re sad. He said you cried too much over a guy who used you.”
That stung… and then it started to ache. I guess my face showed the hurt. “I shouldn’t have said that. Jess, I’m sorry.” I sat on the floor and started to cry. Zach was right about one thing: I do cry too much. Sam sat next to me and rubbed my shoulder. “I’m so sorry this happened. I know you liked him a lot. He doesn’t know what he missed out on. You’ll find a guy who treats you like one of those fucking lifeguard rings – he won’t let you go.” That made me cry harder. I placed my head on his lap; he patted my back. We stayed like that for a long while before I said I needed a shower and a change of clothes while I washed my sweaty gym duds. I did his laundry too as payment.
“Hey Jess, I don’t want you to think the wrong thing, but you can sleep in my bed if you want. Whenever I break up with a girl, I find that physical contact is pretty nice. I won’t do anything weird; I’ll just pat your back.”
“Well I sure as shit ain’t gonna say no to that.” And that’s how we slept. Both of us in basketball shorts and T-shirts, my back pressed against his chest, one of his arms draped over my rib cage.
It felt nice until I remembered I wasn’t curled up with Michael. I cried some more. Sam’s arm tightened around my chest, pulling me towards him. “You’ll be all right, little one. You’ll be just fine.”
I guess I will be.