See You Later, Little Buddy

22 Feb

Here’s this man: 

“This man”–as you called him [Editor’s Note: You called him that.]–is my friend Patrick. He’s a man with a name. and He used to have long hair like this until he got it cut.

Guess he got tired of having a haircut that made women feel like they should button their top button, that made men feel like they need to tap their back pocket to make sure their wallet was still there, that made dogs and feral cats feel like they found a buddy.

A photograph from Patrick’s graduation.

Well, Patrick lives in Tel Aviv where he’s studying the Middle East. He’s been gone for five months and came back for a few days recently. It should be noted that I love Patrick and he is one of my very favorite people on this Earth.

I’m laying in bed watching a movie with my girlfriend–Drive. By that I mean I’m watching the film Drive with my girlfriend. My girlfriend is not the movie Drive. If I were to date a movie it wouldn’t be one in which every second makes me want to do cocaine off of something people don’t normally do cocaine off of.

A dog’s snout.

A sirloin steak.

A male relative’s belly.

On the television screen is a still image of Ryan Gosling looking somber about something. I have paused the film.

“Okay, so this does or does not relate to The Notebook in some way?”

“It does not,” Courtney says.

“Oh what crap,” I say, pressing the power button on the remote control and tossing the remote onto the floor.

Just then, my phone rings. It rings with a sound I have not heard in some time. It’s Pat’s favorite song–a loop of an elderly man saying the phrase “Struttin’ that ass.”

I lift my phone and look at the screen. It says “Patrick Strickland,” but it cannot be. I sit up in my bed and slowly put the phone to my ear.

“Hello?” I say. The ring blares into my ear. I pull the phone back, press the “Answer” button and place it at my ear again. “Hello?”

“Kyle?”

I say nothing.

“Kyle? Hello?”

“Who is this? How did you get my number?”

“It’s in my phone.”

I turn to Courtney. I mouth “Get my gun.”

She mouths “___” because she has fallen asleep.

“What have you done with Patrick? Is this the Mujaheddin? Is this Terror? Am I being Terroristed?” I begin to fumble about in my room, looking for my passport.

“What is ‘terroristed’?”

“HA!” I blare. I don’t know what ‘terroristed’ is, either.

“Kyle, it’s me, Pat. I’m back in town.”

My heart swells. “My dearest son. My beautiful child. The hairy watermelon of my loins.” I lean forward, listening very carefully for how Pat responds.

“Daddy,” he responds. This is the keyword. The countersign is correct.

“Hey man!” I say. “I didn’t know you were back!”

“I am, I got back in today.”

“Let’s meet up!” I say.

“Sure, but wh–” I’m so excited, I throw my phone against the wall before he can finish. I raise my blinds, throw open my window and jump out.

Courtney, confused by my actions says “____” because she’s still asleep.

Pat and I meet up at Lou’s–a local tavern we frequented together when we were younger and had much longer hair and so much more hope.

We talk of the old days and the new days and the days ahead. It’s odd. So much seems to have transpired in the six months since he left. I fill him in on my brief attempt at graduate school, my reasons for leaving. He fills me in on the new woman he’s seeing and seems completely content, sure that he’s chosen the right path.

I was going to make this longer, but I don’t really want to. This is all just a 658-word goodbye to my friend, Pat. I’ll miss you, comrade.

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