The Whole Trying Thing
L.M. Langley © 2016
All Rights Reserved
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were seeing someone,” Nick says. It’s two o’clock in the morning, and we are sitting on his roof, right outside his bedroom. We are not supposed to do this. His parents would be upset.
“I’m telling you now,” I say.
I finish the beer and wait for him to hand me another one. He does without a word. He’s wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts. Nick likes stars. Sometimes, when is dad is out of earshot, he says he is going to study astrology.
“What’s she like?”
I haven’t planned for this question. I have planned for When are you going to introduce us; Is she hot; Does she go to our school; Do I know her; and other variations, but not this.
“Older,” I say. “Twenty-three.”
“Damn,” Nick says. “That’s awesome. What else?”
I take a deep breath. “Well, it’s a…His name is Issam,” I say.
“Oh,” Nick replies. “Okay.”
The sky spins. I wonder if he’s going to say anything else.
“You know I’ll always support you no matter what, right?”
I smile. “Yes. I know that.”
Our hands are really close to each other.
“He’s my manager,” I say. “At work.”
“Yeah,” he says. “I figured that out when you said he’s your manager.”
My smile broadens. “He’s really smart. Going to school for political science and statistics.”
“That’s cool,” he says. “What does he look like? When do I get to meet him?”
I take my wallet out of my back pocket and take a folded picture out. It’s dark, so he leans in to see it as I unfold it.
In the picture, Issam and I are standing together outside, next to some sort of sculpture. Sylvia stands to his right, her arms folded over her chest, her long red hair in a ponytail behind her.
“That’s him,” I say. “And that’s his sister. Her friend took the picture.”
He grabs it out of my hand and slides himself toward the window, edging it open with his foot. He looks at the picture under the light.
“Fuck,” he says. “He’s—his sister is white.”
I laugh. “Yeah, I know.”
“She’s hot,” he says. “They both are.”
“She’s annoying,” I reply. I’ve been dying to talk to Nick about him for a while, but I feel like an idiot for not liking that he’s turning the conversation to Syl. Still, I know it could be worse, so I’m just going to talk about whatever he wants to talk about. “But nice. Issam is always saying she needs to get laid.”
“He’s her older brother,” he says, cocking his head.
“He’s the loose cannon,” I reply. “His parents say they want him to keep an eye on his little sister, but I think they want her to spy on him.”
“Probably,” I say, shrugging. “If that’s all I had to do to live in an apartment that nice, I definitely would.”
“You don’t have siblings,” Nick says. “You don’t know what it’s like.”
“Probably,” I say again and shrug. The alarm on my watch starts to go off. It’s 2:17 A.M.
Nick goes into his bedroom for something. I silence the alarm.
He comes out with another six-pack in his hands and sets it between us while crouching and then sits down. “A toast,” he says. He takes a can out, opens it, and holds it up high.
“Yes,” I say. “Happy birthday, dude.”
“To my birthday,” he says. “And to your boyfriend.”