I fell for my best friend’s boyfriend, and twenty-five years later I cherish the memories.
It was like a firecracker exploded in my mind the day I met you. Standing there with her, my new friend who would soon become my soul sister for life. And then there was you. Well, you and your brother just standing there together, and it was like you were standing next to a mirror.
And I got this overwhelming sense of deja’ vu as my mind absorbed the realization that you were the spitting image of each other, identical twins through and through. I had never been around anyone who was a mirror image of someone else, and even though she told me that you were twins, my mind had to absorb the sudden shock of it.
You boys were trouble, I could tell right away. You were always looking for the next high, fueled by testosterone and a sense of invincibility.
But that night it was just a little smoke you were after, only you couldn’t find any papers. So your ever so resourceful brother grabbed a russet potato and made a pipe out of it. That was the first time I ever smoked it.
But I had smelled it plenty of times. I had a hippie for a dad, after all, and I had been to a Bob Dylan concert just the year before. Yet all I could think about that night at my very first concert was running away from home. Not that I ever called Shreveport, Louisiana my home.
And here I was, back in Houston for my senior year of high school, at my mother’s house yet again after attempting the lofty goal of being a runaway, on a train bound for New York of all things. Alas, the train was way behind schedule and by that time the police were on the lookout for me. So after that fiasco, I found myself attending yet another high school.
I came alive for the first time when I met you.
I was introduced to that house you lived in where there were no adults and just a bunch of kids coming through at all times. What a party house it was, everybody knew it was and the cops did, too.
It was like my life had gone from a black and white movie to all out absolute technicolor. I had felt it coming in Louisiana, that something wild was about to happen in my own world.
And then there you were.
Your charisma mesmerized me, from the moment I met you. Smoking for the first time, all of us hanging out in the shed. It was like Fast Times at Ridgemont High when that shed door finally opened and released us all stumbling out into the darkened yard. Then sitting on your couch later, watching an interview with Pearl Jam on TV. It was 1993, after all.
And that sense of deja’ vu blanketing me with this overwhelming feeling that I had done all of this before. Meeting you, coming over to your house for the first time, getting high for the first time.
God, there were so many firsts in that house.
And here my best friend, no, my soul sister, was in a very serious relationship with you, that ended up lasting seven years. Seven of the craziest years of her life with you as a boyfriend. But you were her high school sweetheart, before you dropped out of school.
But I knew how you wanted me. And how I wanted you, too.
And I told myself that you were like a brother to me and for an entire year there I tried more than anything to believe it. But I had two brothers, and you weren’t like either of them. And what I was feeling for you was definitely not sisterly, that intense sweet almost familiar feeling, a hint of the sweetest pleasure imaginable.
No, you weren’t like a brother to me. You were like an immortal sun god from a Greek myth shining with such brightness, blinding me with such clarity and truth. But like Icarus flying too close to the sun I went down in flames.
Tangerine dreams all year, your green eyes gazing at me playfully, cajoling me, and oh how I trusted you. And then there was the night we decided to play strip hide and go seek. My bestie’s idea, of course. You chasing me chanting “Here kitty, kitty…”
How amazed I was when you told me years later that you used that same expression just before getting into a bar fight, and lord knows there were many of those. But that night as you chased us both, that was the first time you had ever uttered those words.
“It’s like a boulder rolling down a hill — you can watch it and talk about it and scream and say Shit! but you can’t stop it. It’s just a question of where it’s going to go.” Ken Kesey, The Electric Koolaid Acid Test
And you caught me in your arms, your mouth very nearly suddenly on mine, the desire a permeable thing between us, a golden haze of pure want. I had never felt such a thing before. And then there she was, watching us with troubled eyes, my soul sister whom I felt closer to anyone in the entire world.
But if there was ever a moment when things changed, that was it. Like the first time the snake appeared in the Garden of Eden.
I remember how I tried to fall for your twin. And how not? You both looked exactly identical when you were eighteen. It took me several months before I could distinguish that his nose was a bit wider than yours. But back in those days even your hair was the same.
Of course you had your new tattoo to help me differentiate. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself glancing down at your feet to see if I could find your ball and chain with my bestie’s name entwined around your ankle. Just to make sure that it was you.
Your personalities were different, though. It was obvious right away that you had always been the big brother to him, even though he did come out first in the world. But as you said, that was you saving his ass from getting the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The first of many times that you would rescue him from disaster.
Yet even when he took my virginity, when you were so desperately wanting it for yourself, I knew that I would never, could never love him.
I was a naive little girl, thinking that I could lose my innocence yet not realizing that you would take that from me one way or another.
It took a year of sleeping next to your naked body, the first male body I had ever come into such close contact with. You, me, and my soul sister in that back room, the bedroom that used to be your mother’s.
I remember that desire for you like it was yesterday, that flooding of pure passion churning inside my body, on sweet fire for you, so many times. So innocent still, just pure silent torture for you. Yet I blocked my love, refused to believe that such a thing could happen to me, to my friendship with her.
Oh, but how I fantasized about you, how I always will, in the midnight hours, in the deepening gloom of the night.
It finally happened. The train wreck I saw coming from a long distance off, weighed down by the inevitability of it all. Is it Fate?
It’s like water falling through a sieve, always down, down, down.
No matter what I did I realized that I would wind up in the same place, in your arms where I was meant to be, even if just for a brief moment in time. To cause her grief, when she had done everything for me. She had become my life, had pulled me into her hemisphere, had handed me her world on a platter, and there was magic between us.
My soul sister, my angel, who put me on a pedestal that I knew I was going to fall from.
And fall hard I did.
Your green eyes so penetrating, probing mine so deeply, no words needed, and my soul just had to succumb.
I was lost in a labyrinth, not even knowing that there was no exit, that it all just comes down to the center point, gravity pulling me towards you, that blinding light at the end of the tunnel, the impending crash to come, the moment of truth.
If truth is beauty, then it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Worth even the hell that followed. And I would do it all over again.
Runaway train wreck that I am.