The Friends We Once Were
The nails that used to cover his fingertips were now scattered on the hardwood floor, leaving only his skin to munch on. He tried to escape his mind, but the mindless chatter of the acquaintances he once called friends kept bringing him back like a seesaw.
“Bro…like…I can’t believe she didn’t respond to my nudes. She’s literally the worst.” Tim said; while at the same time using his hand to fork up chicken tenders covered in hot sauce.
He was sweating profusely and using the back of his hand as a napkin.
Back in high school, Tim was that guy: he was 220 pounds of pure muscle, captain of the football team, and his hair had the flow of a Greek God. But now—well now he’s just plain repulsive. His muscles turned into 250 pounds of pure fat; his football years are too far gone for any relevance; and his hair has gone like the ocean level at low tide. He was a mess
“For real?” said Erik. “That’s insane.”
Ugh, Erik. How have you stooped so low? Cormac thought to himself. Erik used to be his closest friend. The kind of friend who just says something and you know where his thoughts were going and where they came from.
They used to do everything together: make-fun of their biggest enemies, play any given sport on any given day, goof off in ways they could never do in public. It was a true friendship—even the name, Erik, was pretty cool. But years passed, and Erik spent more time with liquor and weights than with Cormac. Whereas Cormac began spending all his time with his wife and his thoughts. Eventually, those things took over their friendship little-by-little. And the name, the name that Cormac loved, was now ruined. Erik couldn’t go anywhere without over pronouncing the k: “It’s Erik, with a k,” he’d say. Sickening.
“Literally.” said Tim after a few moments of silence. “Fuck ‘er though,” he continued with irrational confidence in himself, “she’s missing out—he paused and gave his next sentence some thought—but it don’t matter ‘cause I have mad bitches on standby.”
Wow! I can’t believe she would do something like that. He thought; mocking their tone of voice in a sarcastic way. How could anyone ignore that body and not text back. His thoughts produced a genuine laugh. But lucky for him, they were all too drunk to hear anything and they continued their aimless conversation. Cormac, on the other hand, wasn’t drunk, not even somewhat, and his current setting—loud music, dirty table, messy finger foods, twenty-five-year-old drunks, dense talk—was testing his patience.
He was lost in his thoughts, and didn’t hear his old buddy calling.
“Cormac!” Erik with a K was trying to get his attention. Still nothing. Erik with a K, proceeded to throw a fry in Corma’s direction.
“What?—What?” Cormac snapped, not realizing he had done so.
“What’s up? You haven’t said a word.”
“Yea,” Tim butted in, “what’s your deal? Marriage getting to you buddy?” They all let out a laugh with that one. Cormac didn’t smile, his body was a stone.
“Yea, I’m fine. Just tired; that’s all.”
“Cormac.” said Erik, with an evil look in his eye that Cormac never noticed. “How’s it feel to be leashed up? Whoopash”—he made the sound a whip supposedly makes.
“Seriously? Back the fuck off!” Cormac said. “That’s my wife!” He kept going; his words had no mind and were rolling off his tongue like boulders. “I’m here ‘cause I want to be here! And I don’t come ‘cause I don’t feel like being around this nonsense.
“Whoa, look at Cormac, the new tough guy!” Erik said, now looking more intense than ever before. Tim was stunned, taking it all in.
“At least I can have a conversation without dirt or”—he hesitated—”chicken juice flying out of my mouth.
“Just shut up…Cormac! You’ve changed, bro.”
“I’ve changed? No;” he chuckled in a menacing tone, “I haven’t changed in the slightest. I’ve,”—he paused…shot up from his chair…pressed his fists against the table like a businessman arguing his point, and glared at Erik with intense, lion-like eyes—”I’ve grown up! And I’ve lost all interest to deal with people who can’t seem to understand that. And now…well, now I’ve found my voice and I plan to raise Hell with it! He slammed his fists on the table to put an exclamation point on his words, and with that, he stormed out.
“Bro? Cormac!” Erik gave one final-effort to calm his once best friend; but he was gone.