So where is Will now? I don’t get it. Was he ever really dead?”, I opined.
“Girl, I allotted you fifteen damn questions to ask me during our binge watching of Stranger Things, Season Two. And said questions have already been expended! Redeemed!”, Lucas bellowed, wiping his hands together before emphatically throwing them up in the air.
“Okay, understood! So…..on a scale of one to ten, how annoying am I right now?”
“Probably about a nine! Look, you keep asking me questions about things I’m still trying to figure out! I don’t know why Eleven is at the cop’s house! I don’t know why there is slime on the tree in the woods! I don’t know, woman! I DON’T KNOW!”
I met Lucas when I was in eighth grade. We had burgers at a now-defunct fast food joint with my then-boyfriend Derrick. I met Lucas again a year later when my subsequent boyfriend and I went to Lucas’ house to watch movies with him and his then- girlfriend. She had long blonde hair and beautiful, large green eyes – albeit desecrated with tacky blue eyeliner on the lower rims.
Lucas doesn’t remember any of this, and I’m not sure why I do.
“Come here Ira”, I bellowed, gesturing towards my orange tabby cat, whom I recently adopted from a shelter. “Come sit with Mommy on the couch”.
Ira looked at me, yawned, and began laboriously licking his paw, whilst glancing up at me periodically as if to say “fuck you, I’ll move when I feel like it”.
“Why won’t Ira come sit with me? He must not like me”, I pondered aloud.
“Not like you?”, Lucas laughed, tapping his lighter against his bowl in preparation for another hit.
“It’s quite the opposite. He is sitting directly in front of you, with his back to you.”
“It’s a protective stance. He is PROTECTING you.”
“Protecting me from what?! And since when did you become the friggin’ cat whisperer?”
“Woman, please”, Lucas sighed, setting the bowl back on the coffee table. “I was in the infantry. A grunt. I enlisted at goddamned thirty years old. I did TWO fucking tours in Afghanistan. TWO fucking tours! It’s tactical shit – body language. Trust me”.
I added Lucas as a friend on Facebook about a decade ago, not thinking much of it. He was in the Army at that time, stationed a few states away. At one point, he called me to ask for legal advice for his friend, whose marriage had gone awry. We spent a good chunk of time bullshitting on the phone, and, not hearing from him again, I assumed that his friend’s domestic woes had been resolved.
About two years ago, he posted on Facebook that his contract with the Army was up, and that he was returning back to our hometown. I sent him a drunken instant message, which was promptly returned. A flirtatious banter ensued, which lasted until about our third date, after which he said he didn’t want to see me anymore and professed continuing love for his ex-girlfriend.
I then flooded him with threats of death and bodily harm via text message. Epic, restraining order worthy material.
“I’m going to find you, twist your fucking balls off, and cook them like fucking vidalia onions over a campfire before feeding them to ravenous black bears so that your species of scumbag will never be permitted to propagate on this earth until your second coming, assuming you are permitted to reincarnate you fucking bastard son”.
“I wish death upon you and your brethren. You can’t run or hide from the wrath of God. He KNOWS what you have done to me. You think all is forgotten? My lineage will hunt yours for centuries and ensure that justice is fulfilled”.
“No, I’m not leaving you alone. Fuck you. I’ll stop texting you when I feel like it. You deserve to be annoyed. If you are annoyed now, just imagine the incessant howling you will experience in Satan’s kingdom, where you belong with the rest of the ungodly savages that were permitted to walk this earth”.
Then Kaiser happened.
But, throughout Kaiser, I maintained a friendship with Lucas. And he eventually became my best friend.
“Does anything scare you Lucas?”, I wondered, as Ira finally jumped into my lap.
“I’ve dodged bullets in 100 degree heat carrying full artillery. I’ve gone without showers for months on end, cleaning my ass with nothing but baby wipes. Ive taken shits in the desert and covered them with sand – much like Ira here- in order to avoid detection from the enemy. I’ve saved lives, and I’ve taken some. Now what do you think the answer to your fucking question is? Cue the Jeopardy music”.
You know that dumbass Marilyn Monroe meme? It’s always a picture of Marilyn in some provocative pose, with some variation of the following prose:
“If you don’t love me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best”.
I always thought that was a corny crock of shit, and an excuse for bad behavior on a female’s part.
Maybe because, until Lucas, I never really let anyone see me at my worst.
Whether I allow myself to be loved at my worst – and if I’m even capable of giving my best – well, that remains to be seen.