Chris was one of my best friends. He was part of my triforce. He also has remained to date the only friend I’ve ever lost who stayed that way.
When I first met Chris in film school I was intimidated. He seemed to be the leader in a group of guys I had hung out with since enrolling. Jordan and Tyler were around him often and I thought he was the one in charge of the posse. One day while we were all walking to the nearest fast food joint on a break I brought up This Film is Not Yet Rated to Chris in an attempt to strike up a conversation. It worked and suddenly this imaginary wall I put up between us had been brought down. We had similar likes and dislikes about most things with the exception of Bruce Springsteen and Back to the Future III. We became fast friends and often stayed up late at his house watching shows. We rang in the new year once watching Robocop get shot to bits and endured Thankskilling when everyone else wanted to tap out. I got him hooked on Lost back when it was good, and we both suffered when the finale killed all our hopes and dreams for science fiction television.
He was a trust fund kid who hated that about himself. He always acted like he was just as poor as the rest of us because he didn’t like taking money from Dr. Dad. Chris was one of the few friends who I had deep philosophical conversations with, one in particular that came up often was the idea of death. I expressed how much I didn’t want to die, and we discussed the different possibilities for prolonging and preventing the inevitable. He even teased me by bringing up that even if immortality were achievable, the universe would have to end sometime. I think he liked watching me writhe in anguish.
We talked about the promise of science and the very much needed death of religion. We were extreme atheists and it’s very possible we both have remained so. Shouting things like “God sucked my dick last night” to religious protesters at Downtown Orlando and engaging in high WPM debates on mutual friend’s facebook posts who dared be on the wrong side of our fence. By the time our film program was wrapping up we were almost inseparable.
Then came New York.
Chris was wondering where to go after school was over, and I along with Shane and Jordan convinced him to come with us to the big city to take it by storm. We thought (logically) that if we gathered enough troops, we’d have enough firepower to take it down. We were wrong. Everyone in our group went to different parts of the city, while myself, Misty and Scott opted for the commute opportunity and moved to New Jersey. For the first six months we were on opposite sides. Chris made fun of me living in Jersey and I made fun of the fact that my apartment was bigger, nicer, and had all the appliances already installed. Somewhere along the line Chris started leaning in my direction. Maybe it was his new girlfriend Lisa, maybe it was something else, but his love for New York ripened and rotted awfully quick. He started hating everything about living there, and expressed interest into moving into the same apartment complex as me when his lease ran out. I welcomed the idea of me being the Kramer to his Seinfeld. I showed him the first excerpts from my attempt at a novel and he complimented them by saying that he thought I had become a better writer than he. It was a high honor in my mind.
Then came the sister.
I didn’t know Chris had a sister for the longest time. Somewhere in New York I had learned of it and saw a picture of her. I joked to him that I thought she was attractive and his reaction was priceless. You could see the ew on his face. Naturally that caused me to make more jokes about it. On the night I decided it was over with Misty and told Chris and Shane everything about her I had kept hidden for so many years, I made a fateful joke. “Let me know when your sister’s single!” By this time he had learned to play along.
“Well guess what! She is!” He went on to say she broke up with some dude she’d been with for two years. A week or so later I added her on facebook, which may have well been laying out the blueprints for our friendship’s coffin. “Watch out! I’m friends with your sister now! We’re gonna start dating soon!” Dumb fuckin’ joke and a dumb fuckin’ punchline. My first summer romance was with her, and at first the tables had turned, and Chris began making fun of me for our long conversations.
Through this mixed up mess we got ourselves into I had recently become homeless and was bouncing from place to place. Chris had one month left in his city apartment that was coincidentally his first month at the apartment that was supposed to be mine and Misty’s. He agreed to let me stay at his city one if I helped him move. Recently becoming an expert, I welcomed the offer. Being a rich kid, I guess he had never done a Uhaul himself, and he was laughably bad at driving it. I drove to the new place and waited for him to arrive. When he did I told him where the moving elevator was: right next to the parking garage. I went inside to inquire about letting us park the truck there for a bit, and when I came back out I nearly collapsed holding my sides.
Chris had tried to move the truck into the garage, banging up the 8′ Clearance sign, which was now hanging by a thread, making it nearly impossible for someone to get there car inside. “What were you thinking?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” He said, clearly flustered by the whole day. I pulled out my phone to take a picture, knowing it was going to be hilarious to him later on. That’s when Lisa marched up and nearly knocked the phone out of my hands.
I fucking got it, though.
She didn’t know that. She thought her attempt was successful. She called me a jackass for trying to take the picture. That was when my suspicions that she hated me became confirmed. We knocked out the move and I made my way back into the city to temporarily move into a new apartment myself. In the coming months our friendship took a sudden turn, which I still can’t quite figure out. As my relationship with his sister blossomed, Chris started warming up to the idea on a serious note. Even when I was floating the idea of moving back to Florida, he brought up that it would be easier to engage in/maintain a relationship down there than up here.
Then came a confession.
I was in the midst of staying with Carlos, Matt, and Kelsey when the movie Drive came out. I kept trying to get Chris to come to the city and watch it with me, but he continually blew me off. One day I offered to come to New Jersey and he responded by saying that he didn’t like me talking to his sister all the time and said I treated Misty like shit and he thought his sister deserved better than me.
I couldn’t figure it out. He knew all the terrible things she’d done. He knew how she was as a person. Why would he ever say that it was me who treated her terribly? A question I can’t answer and have tried on many an occasion. A week later he unfriended me and a month later I unfriended his sister. That family was forever cut from me. Having so many mutual friends made it hard to just forget about him, though. All of them thought the entire thing was stupid, and it probably was. Clearly something had been brewing between us that wasn’t about that. The only deduction I can make is that I started drinking. I drank often and often. Eating at a restaurant one day in June Chris said to me, “Just don’t be one of those guys who goes out and drinks all the time, because I hate people like that.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t.” Famous last words. I was a rapidly deteriorating individual on the verge of imploding. Who would want someone like that so close? Regardless, all ties were severed, bridges set ablaze, and I’ll never see or hear from him again. Think about him, though? That’ll happen every time attempt to cut a slice of bread.
Outback Steakhouse was his favorite restaurant. We went on his birthday every year and he often criticized my bread-cutting skills. He said I put too much pressure and not enough of a sawing motion, smashing the bread together. He was right. He still is. To this day I just don’t know what I’m doing when I’m cutting into that mysterious, doughy substance. I do know how to slap up a mean garlic bread for gatherings, though. In the future I’ll be excited about an event at my house, and I’ll get all the ingredients together. I’ll have that long, fresh Italian bread unwrapped and sitting on the table. I want to make this one right, though, because the people coming over are people I want to impress.
My little radio that hangs under one of the cabinets will be blasting some dance music, and in an excited frenzy I’ll grab my knife, swinging it around like I’m part of a kung fu movie. As I place the knife gently on the center part of the bread, the universe will collapse. Everything we all know and love will disappear into the dark nothingness from whence it came. All thoughts will cease and the goddamn bread will be smashed. My last memory will be that of the one friend who I just couldn’t keep because of a bottle and a woman.