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Petunias Cry White Diamonds
She was a bad a**, and sometimes, whilst in her company, I seriously doubted our friendship. How was it possible that two people, so drastically contradictory, could remain in such close proximity? Didn’t it violate those oh so well established rules of physics? Didn’t it screw up kinetics, or some advanced scientific stuff like that?
I guess what I always truly wondered was: how did our relationship not mess with nature. How was there not some toad out there with a third eye or octapus with a nipple on it’s forehead because of us?
It wasn’t a publicized friendship, ours. But it wasn’t some shunned situation that we hid like a deformed second twin in some dingy attic. We embraced it, but to a certain extent. An extent that never truly reached the eyes or ears of the public.
We preferred our partnership, our comrodary, to be private.
I don’t really know how I felt about this, and I honestly don’t know if I even ever had a choice. She was always the dominant force in our relationship, the one who made the decisions. She was the one who wore the pants, the one, metaphorically speaking of course (since her physically anatomy had been drunkenly/accidentally exposed to me on numerous occasions), that had the d*ck. Decisions were made by her, and without much protest by my meek little voice.
She was the controller, I was the caretaker. She was the one who made messes, I was the one who quickly cleaned them up. She was the one who got her heart broken, I was there to crazy glue it back together. She was the one that got crazy drunk, I was the one to hold back her hair as she crouched over the toilet. She was the one that forgot condoms, I was the one who would run out to the store at three in the morning to buy one.
The power was very imbalanced in our relationship, but it was never a problem. These were the roles we played, why change them?
Why f*** around with nature even more?
“What do you plan on doing tonight?” She asked. She took a long drag from her cigarette, exhaled a cloud of smoke, and then leaned comfortably back against the rough roof tiles, the mid afternoon sun warming her face.
I frowned at the smoky haze that still hung in the air and waved my hand in front of my face.
“You’re such a drama queen,” she said rolling her eyes.
I refused to budge.
She grumbled something under her breath and then proceeded to squash the cigarette against the roof and throw it’s remenants into the gutter.
“That could start a fire,” I pointed out, gesturing to the abundance of moist, damp leaves that filled the narrow metal basin.
“You worry too much. Has anybody ever told you that?”
“Sharon tells me I have the wrinkles of a forty-nine year old man,” I told her, reminiscing to the conversation I’d had with my mother this morning, in which she had also critiqued my over use of the cardigan and the word “flacid”.
“Your mom’s right.”
“You know that’s not effective since my mother’s dead,” she shot back.
I rolled my eyes, “She lives in Phoenix.”
“She might as well be,” she grumbled.
Silence fell between us, I saw her eyes shift to her open bag in which a pack of cigarettes was clearly visible. I had watched her buy them, sat in her car and observed her, through the plate glass window, flirting with the indian guy behind the counter as he got her a pack.
“If you want to smoke, fine,” I said tightly.
“You concede only after I’ve already used up one?” She pouted. “I might be attractive, but I’m not made of money you know.”
I shook my head and smiled.
She lit up again, I heard the strike of the lighter, and then her loud, suddenly comforted, exhale. “Ah, that’s better,” she breathed.
“You’re addicted,” I told her.
“Am not,” she responded, sounding childlike. “I just…like them. That’s all.”
“That’s what Whitney Houston said about crack.”
“I’m pretty sure Whitney never spoke publicly about her addiction,” she chided. “Wasn’t that the whole scandal?”
I hated when she pretended to know more things than me. The intelligence in the relationship was greatly weighted towards me, obviously weighted towards me, and I hated when she challenged that notion. I never challenged her when it came to boys, so it sometimes irked me that she couldn’t simply let me have my intelligence.
“I think crack is a predicament within itself,” I said, trying to sound as smart as possible. “And I didn’t know you and ‘Whitney’ were on a first name basis either.”
She smiled and shook her head, acting as if I was some intolerable child. “OK, Alissa.”
Sick of her childish attempts to up-end me, I slid off the roof. It was a quick drop from our smoky perch to the garden beds below (she resided with her aunt in a split level ranch which meant it was far from hazardous to slide from her roof). My feet landed with a thud in the soil, narrowly missing her aunt’s measley, but precious, flower beds.
I recalled a time, two or three years ago, or even more distant in the past, when she and I had slid off the roof. She, with graceful ease had land quietly upon the ground not even coming close to the throng of petunias. I, on the other hand (possessing the hand eye coordination and reflex skills of a mentally diasbled slug) landed smack in the middle of throng, crushing every single petunia in sight.
My lack of grace had not gone unnoticed, for as I was trying to make my quiet escape, her aunt casually strolled out of the house and stumbled upon her crushed flowers.
“Who did this!” She cried, as if someone had just murdered the precious shitzu she paraded around the neighborhood in fur jackets and frilly bows.
Flushed and unable to speak, I looked away from the aunt and towards her. I hope my friend would swoop in, jump in front of me and take her aunt’s drug store perfume scented bullet or something, but instead she casually smiled and replied, “Alissa here is a little clumsy.”
I was struck dead. The bullet pierced through my skin, puncturing a vital artery and staining my blood with the ever so classy scent of White Diamonds.
She had betrayed me.
The memory stung like the cigarette burn she’d once given me in a drunken argument a few months back. Instinctively, I reached to that spot on my elbow and rubbed it a little. The burn was long gone, but like the memory, it’s phantom pain still lingered.
I turned and began to walk towards my car, carefully dodging the petunias, which seemed to be smugly staring up at me, quietly chuckling, “White diamonds, white diamonds, white diamonds…”
I was half way across the over grown dandelion infested grass when her voice called to me.
“Alissa,” she summoned.
I turned, spinning on my heals, ponytail whipping against the sunburnt back of my neck, the grass tickling the back of my heels.
We locked eyes. Her damp grey danced with my deep brown.
“Don’t over think it,” she breathed, the words coming out as a cloud of cigarette smoke.
A bug flitted by my eye, I batted it away.
She let her cigarette dangle gracefully from her fingers, her eyes fixated on it as she whispered, “Sometimes, nature needs a little flexibility.”
The petunias had stopped crying White Diamonds. At least for now.