>> Monday, December 2, 2013 – Boston, club cafe, Friends, fritz, life after death, Sam, south end, Writing
After the third (or fourth?) glass of wine I tell Sam that I write because I believe in life after death. Both of these statements are true. I write. I believe in life after death. But, I can’t connect the two in any logical sense and he can see that I am struggling with the word vomit that I have just chucked up onto our high top bar table.
“Because you’re going to come back and find what you wrote?” he asks me.
“P-Possibly,” I stutter and take another sip as his eyes narrow.
I am waiting for him to say this is the stupidest shit he has ever heard. But he doesn’t, which surprises me. He reaches into his drink with his index finger and thumb, plucks out an ice cube and pops it into his mouth. He pushes his eyeglasses up on his nose and shrugs. I think he has finally decided to find my pointless statements charming.
“Dameron, check out that dude,” he says while crunching the ice cube and motioning behind me with a nod of his head.
Correction: He has decided to ignore my pointless statements and cruise the bar. When my head spins around, he admonishes me “Don’t do a Linda Blair!” But, he drops the “R” so that it sounds like Blai-uh.
My face contorts reflexively into a disgusted look. He laughs and says “C’mon’, he’s adorable.”
I’m sure his mother thinks so I think, but I do not say this aloud. He has forgiven my word vomit. I’ll give him this face vomit.
We’ve been friends for six years now and this is our equivalent of the monthly sleep over; brushing each other’s hair, playing records and talking about boys. We plan significant events together; fiftieth birthday parties, trips to Florida. Our exploits from the past have already taken on the sepia tinged quality of urban legends, referenced in some way each time we get together.
“OK, let’s do our ‘Where’s Waldo?’,” he says to me and we rotate our heads like Linda Blai-uh minus the projectile split pea soup. There is is no sighting of “Monkey Boy” or “Y” who we always reference by placing our hand in the middle of our scalp to signify how advanced "Y's" receding hairline has become.
We don our coats and amble on the brick paved sidewalk to Fritz, where the ceiling is painted black, surly bartenders hurl drinks, Donna Summer is moaning on the stereo and men pretend to watch sports on the wall mounted TV’s while they check each other out.
“This place is a fuckin’ dump. It needs to be gutted,” Sam says.
He is referring to its imminent closure and reopening as a fancy new restaurant. But still, we find ourselves here once a month.
When it’s time to go we walk to the corner together.
“See ya’ buddy,” Sam says and gives me a hug. My throat catches.
He walks towards the South End and I walk to the Green Line, the new Liberty Mutual building towering over us. Hard to believe how much has changed in just six years. I met Sam at the lowest point in my life when I felt like I had no friends.
When I step off of the T, I take a wider arc than is necessary, my spatial judgment impaired. “Damn Sam,” I laugh and think I must remember to write down this scene. In the morning, head throbbing, I find a note that I had taken on my iPhone: I write because there is life after death.