Hogeita Hamar Truth Egunak - Abuztuak 9
Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Whew. This is a tough one.
Tough, in the "hard to talk about" sense, not the "difficult to think of an answer" way. There are always people we enjoy spending time with, but with whom we lose touch as time goes by. Of all the friends I had in high school, I only really keep in touch with one. From college, besides professors,
there are really only three people I stay in any kind of real contact with. There are two people, though, that I really wish I still had around to relive the good times we used to have.
I can't begin to explain how close I was to Tree Trunk and Motorcycle. We had so much fun as kids. The acreage behind our Route Z house was the world to us - a boat, a spaceship, a battlefield, an alien planet, an underwater wilderness...nothing was beyond our imagination. We literally went everywhere together, in reality and in imagination. That's what brothers do.
Yeah, we're brothers. I know I make a big deal out of being "the only boy" and such, but that's mostly because talking about my brothers brings up a lot of emotions, especially now that they're not around anymore.
I guess, looking back, it was inevitable that we drifted apart. Each of us had different interests growing up- I always wanted to be Indiana Jones or an astronaut; Tree Trunk was constantly trying to figure out how things worked; and Motorcycle was always weirdly drawn to Cirque de Soleil. After elementary school, we started taking different classes, which unavoidably led to us making new and different friends. Motorcycle was always the ladies' man, Tree Trunk made fast friends with the A/V club crowd, and I was, of course, the perennial band nerd.
As we all got into high school, both my brothers started pointing out that I was changing, and not in a good way. Motorcycle was the worst. He always started the arguments, usually with a fake-sullen
quip like, "Man, it's like you hardly notice us anymore." And I would respond with something like, "Oh, I'm sorry you're invisible. I'm sorry if I can never tell if I'm looking you in the eye or if you're walking in front of or behind me." Then Tree Trunk would say something along the lines of, "I knew you were going to throw that in our faces."
Other times we would start arguing, and that would devolve into actual fighting. It was always awkward when people saw us fight. I remember them saying things like, "Why is that guy hitting himself?" or "Why is he rolling around on the ground? He's not on fire." Those hurt almost as much as Motorcycle's punches. But a ll these arguments would end, however, with us still brothers and friends, going to watch Star Wars.
His Siamese twin, Sidecar, was separated at birth and adopted by a Russian couple.
So when did the end really come for us? It was right after graduation, when I told them I was going away to school. Motorcycle blew up immediately, accusing me of "quitting the band," so to speak. I reacted badly, in part because I was tired of this argument, in part because I knew he was right.
"What are you talking about?" I said, my impatience showing clearly. "We don't even have a band."
"It's a simile," Motorcycle responded while Tree Trunk looked on. He rarely got in on the arguing
unless someone talked to him directly.
I remember scoffing. "A simile? Simile? It's a metaphor, you idiot."
Motorcycle clenched his fists. "Well, excuse me for not being as good at English as you are. YOu know I hate it when you ride me about that." "I RIDE you?" I said, already knowing where this was going. "YOU'RE A MOTORCYCLE, YOU NERD! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE RIDDEN."
"I wish I was rid of you," Motorcycle shot back.
"Oh, clever comeback, Cicero," I said, but Motorcycle looked confused at the obvious reference. Whirling on Tree Trunk, I tried to control my anger as I asked, "Anything you want to chime in on?"
Tree Trunk chewed on his lip for a moment. "Look, I know you're really excited to go to Mizzou. I just don't know why I can't come with you."
"Probably because you're a tree. What, am I supposed to uproot you? Do you know how hard that is?" I said too quickly, and I knew right then I'd gone too far. I wanted to apologize immediately, even to Motorcycle, but I couldn't tell where their eyes were, and I knew an apology without direct eye contact wouldn't be taken as sincere.
So I left. I didn't look back - pride wouldn't let me. That was the last time I spoke to either Motorcycle or Tree Trunk.
Years later, people still like to talk about my brothers. "Remember Tree Trunk and Motorcycle?" they'd ask, and we'd all laugh. But inside, I feel two twinges of pain: one for wishing my brothers were there with me, and the other because I know no one would see them even if they were there.
Every now and then, I'll get hit with a bittersweet-tasting memory out of nowhere. One minute I'm watching Arrested Development, the next I'm back in the Route Z house, light-heartedly arguing about which one of us was oldest. Tree Trunk would say, "I'm the oldest - just count my rings," and Motorcycle would respond, "Yeah, dude, like we're going to cut you open." Then Motorcycle would say "I'm oldest - just look at my odometer." And Tree Trunk would say, "Man, you're gross." Finally I would just produce the original copy of my birth certificate, and the argument was won.
Yeah, I miss my brothers. I never had friends to match them since, and I don't guess I ever will again. Sure, people say they were imaginary.
Maybe they were.
But I like to think our friendship was always i-magic-nary.