It was around midnight, maybe later than that, judging by how I couldn’t stop yawning every few minutes, and my eyes would hazily close and then open startled when he would breath or talk to himself under his breath. I didn’t know why, but his enthusiasm was enlightening to me. I wanted to know what about what he wanted to know made him want to know it so badly. Maybe it was the love talking, but I really was interested.
“Any luck?” I asked, unwilling to stay silent for long. We were in the backseat of some beat up white chevy he was borrowing form a friend for the night, and it was so dark that his eyes were the only things I saw with clarity.
“You would know if there was.” He replied, not taking his binoculars away from his eyes. I stared at them, noting how they seemed so different, but yet on his face, so alike his whims and ideas. So forthright, so intrusive.
“What are we doing, again? What are you doing, I should say.”
“We are waiting for my ex to leave that restaurant with her friends, I need to know what color her dress is, and if its anything close to orange, I’m calling her and asking her to take me back,” he replied.
“Why orange?” I said, and then yawned again.
“You should take a nap,” he said, patting my shoulder like I was a nice leather arm on a chair, and not really a person. He wasn’t the best at affection, but I understood his trying more than most people even cared to.
“Yeah, but then I’ll miss you telling me when its the moment!” I got a little higher in my voice, trying to get him to shove me or something, I wasn’t so sure.
“You’ll be aware. I won’t be silent at all.”
So with his permission, I drifted off, closing my eyes. I didn’t really sleep, because soon after he was shaking me awake, and I was watching him as he dialed in on the binoculars. It wasn’t like the restaurant was that far away either, so it was even more unnecessary but funny.
“Its red,” I noted. Then I realized the implications. “You calling her tomorrow?”
“I better not, but I have to now.” He made a dissatisfied sound. He’d been my friend for a while so I knew his every emotive word, motion, noise. Each one.
“You don’t have to do anything for her anymore. She isn’t yours to love, and she probably didn’t deserve your love even when it was hers. Don’t promise her anything anymore.” I wanted him to feel consoled, inspired, so we could go back to the apartment we shared and not have to deal with his attention to detail anymore.
“I’m never dropping her,” he said, a flick of emotion in his voice giving me a near heart attack, like an earthquake starting up. “I’m never stopping my love for her, I don’t think it would be reasonable to even try.”
“That’s unfortunate for you,” I said, wishing he would hear the break of my voice as a sign that this was more important than just something about him.
“I know,” he said. “You’re right.”
The next day, I watched him dial her number, sipping coffee out of my overused thermos. He was watching his fingers thrumming on his arm, but looked up at me, not smiling.
I mouthed, “You okay?”
And he mouthed, “Sort of,” and then nothing else.
I heard his slur of shouting and irrational words that followed his response to me, then. The words he was leaving her in a voice message on her phone to find later and most likely cry to. But I didn’t want to hear them for my own catharsis to have its moment, I wanted to hear him. He was my best friend, and lying wouldn’t do me any good if I told myself that I didn’t love him.
I wished that he knew just how much.