(a possible addition to the "Today's Forecast..." series)
We've been best friends for as long as I remember. Or, that's how it seems. In reality, it's only been a couple of years, but within a month of meeting, we knew each other's childhoods better than our respective parents. It was one of those friendships that just 'happened', you know? Like this instant mental click upon encountering each other, that said, "this person is going to be around forever, whether you like it or not." Forever seems a long way off. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm strong enough to take it, if I can stay like this for however many years it'll be... until I remind myself of why I'm sticking this out. Through the torture, hope springs eternal, or something like that. Or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.
We share a flat, this pathetically small thing that's basically the top floor of a large townhouse - the type owned by too-rich business folk who rent them out when they retire to the Algarve, or wherever it is people retire to - and it's poky and entirely too tiny for one person, let alone two. There's two bedrooms (one's only got enough room for a bed, literally; the other's larger but has a slanting roof because it's part of the attic), one bathroom, one lounge-kitchen-dining-room, and nothing else. The front door leads right into the main room, and right out onto the stairs. It's all painted in ridiculously dark colours that make it even smaller than it already is - purple, deep blue, autumnal orange, crimson - but that's to make it warmer on the frequent days when the central heating cuts out. The bathroom's a night-sky black-hole blue, dark enough that countless spiders lurk without being found, so neither of us have to deal with them.
See, it's one of those scary friendships, where you're like the same person, twinned, cloned, divided into equal parts. We've got the same goals in life, the same dreams, the same joys and woes, and the exact same phobias for the exact same irrational and pointless reasons, and we persist in making each other worse by default. Hence the bathroom. You'd think it'd make everything heightened and Hellish, being able to see your own faults reflected back at you in someone else, but it doesn't. Because if you're troubled, you don't have to look inside yourself; just think what your best friend would do, and there's the solution. Easy.
It makes it utter Hell to live together, sometimes, because we're equally untidy, but at different times; one will be obsessive-compulsive must-clean-everything, whilst the other lives like a pig, and there's that one perfect weekend of spotlessness (or carnage), every fortnight, when there's cohesion.
Such friendships do, of course, come with strings attached. We try to steal each other's boyfriends. We always have; it's something of a tradition, now, a joke, but it stops if something promises to be serious. Only lately I've stopped altogether - stopped looking, stopped teasing, stopped everything.
We'll throw around flippant "I love you"s on a regular basis, that mean nothing. "You let something congeal in the fridge again," he'd say, "and if you do it again, I'm going to look for another flatmate." To which the answer is always, "Yeah, and I love you, too." That sort of thing. It's second nature, and usually used alongside forgiveness for whatever petty argument we've had. It's that Best-Friend-Forever platonic sort of admission that actually means very little, but needs to be clarified on occasion.
I can't pinpoint precisely when it happened. I just know that it did, it just developed from something he said once, or I said, or we both said, but however it occurred, it's getting stronger by the day and I can't stop it. I don't even know if I want to. And he doesn't know... or, I don't think he does. It's hard to tell when someone's been insightful or not when something like this is concerned. And the traditions remain, the same as always; he comes home and the first thing he says when he comes in is, "I met someone today you'd adore."
The thing is, he's probably right, and I know he's right, because in all likelihood he 'adores' him, too; just like if I'd met that same person, I'd be doing the same thing. Only now I just put on my cold front, and shrug, and pretend like I'm not interested. "Thanks, but I'm on a being-single buzz." Then let the matter fall away again, until the next time, as if it never happened at all.
Only, see, I'm lying. I'm on a being-single something, but it's no buzz, more of a dull and empty ache. The heating's broken again, and there's nothing to do, and it's too cold to go out, so we're sitting in our living-dining-kitchen, squished under a blanket on the old, squashy sofa, watching whatever's on the television. I'm sure I knew what it was at some point, but I lost interest precisely fifteen minutes and thirty-two seconds ago, when - and I know it's only to conserve body heat - his arm moved around me and we ended up snuggling like a pair of Old Marrieds. This is familiar, too, but for some reason I'm pretending it's perfect, and new, and I'll promise myself that the next "I love you" won't be a throwaway comment. That one way or another, I'll make it obvious... except it never will be, because it's the one thing - the only thing - we don't have in common. It's warm here, now, but his cold front freezes me to the bone.
i'm still not sure about it. but nevertheless, a short story is a short story, and it's about time erik came out of hibernation. so, anyway, i got about 3 hours sleep, got up, checked my timetable to see what i was meant to have read, and it turned out we had this week off, so i went back to sleep. and i've got an essay due in on the 17th. why does that always happen when i'm losing a weekend?