I was stuck, and I knew it. I had hit the red Kool-Aid reef and ran aground. I had to start naming things. I had to start getting into specifics, and I had to make sure everything worked.
B was out of town again, and still no word from Chris, who, from what I heard on the school gossip net, had completely involved herself with her man. That seemed to be heading somewhere serious. Usually, she would have checked in to see how things were, which would have given me a chance to ask how things were with her. But no. And I couldn’t call her because, well, it kinda wasn’t my business.
We operated on a very simple principle; we shared. A lot. I told her shit that B woulda smacked me for sharing. She shared things that, well, quite frankly, got me aroused. But we were both confused, and it seemed like a good idea to have someone in the other camp who could report on what was going on and just what the fuck people were thinking.
But it wasn’t my place to ask; I could really just wait til she came to me, and who knows when that would be. Until she did, though, I still had to work on this thing, and we last left it marooned on the Isle of Red Kool-Aid. Dammit.
Writing longhand in my room, with a mix CD that B had made to cheer me up before he left, I didn’t hear Ang come in and sit on my bed. She had been bothered by some things at school, and since I was at school for afterschool shit most of the time on weekdays and hanging with B on the weekends, I hadn’t really been home to talk to. And there really wasn’t much else for me to do, so I listened to my little sister.
Ang’s problem was that she was often too smart for the room, but the teachers and administrators had no idea how to deal with that. Remember, we were supposed to be hood kids; wild, energetic, unable to be controlled. Oh, and stupid. She had girlfriends who knew firsthand how to suck a dick. She had one friend who had been pregnant and moved away. She had friends in gangs, little sisters of cats I went to class with. It seemed that we were just hood kids who couldn’t do much right.
And she wanted to do right. So she asked me about some shit that was going on with her at school. The usual junior high school shit: so-and-so doesn’t like me, so-and-so keeps talking shit, you know. It felt good to actually know some answers for once.
With our parents working so much, neither of us really got the chance to talk to them. They were working so hard to give us a chance that we didn’t have much of a chance to really know them very well. I can’t say we raised ourselves, some some friends of ours did, but we kinda took what little we had and ran with it.
Me and Ang talked for half an hour, then joked and laughed about other things; TV shows, her crush on some random R&B dude, then she asked about my friends. She hadn’t seen B and Christine around lately, and I hadn’t mentioned them, either. Were they okay?
B was okay. He’d been taking trips out of town to visit family on weekends, and really wasn’t around after school much, now that he figured that he should finally see what the fuss was about and try out for the football team. Hell, he ought to be a great weapon, and I hope he doesn’t get hurt.
As I waxed poetic about B and his slow ass, Ang looked at me funny. She cocked her head and when I noticed it and asked her why she was looking at me like that, she looked away.
“She doesn’t like you anymore?”
I laughed. “I don’t think she doesn’t like...wait, that made no sense. I think she still likes me, yeah. She’s just busy. She’s hanging out with this dude and kicking it pretty hard, so she’s not around like she used to.” Chris would come hang out with me once in a while, catching bus after bus and train after train to come crosstown. We’d go to a movie or to the mall, eat lunch, talk smack. We would talk on the phone a lot, and I think Ang figured that out.
She nodded. “You okay with that? I mean, she was your best friend.”
I laughed. “No, I’m cool. Things change. It’s all good.” Then why in the hell was my stomach all queasy?
She nodded again. “Cool. I’m glad.”
She glanced at the clock, and started up. “Karate movie on in a couple minutes. Wanna watch?”
“Sure,” I said. “Popcorn?”