My friend Jordan spreads almond butter on his bananas. Peel, spread, bite, chew. He talks between swallowing and spreading.
“My world view is fucked,” he says.
My friend Karyn switches one hat off the rack for another.
“That’s more rivery-hatty,” she says.
Jordan calls daily until he starts calling monthly, and I wonder if it’s the turning point of our friendship where we’ve forgotten our lives outside of our routines.
Karyn helps me pick out a new pair of frames for my prescription glasses. I wonder if it’s the turning point of our relationship, the downfall, so to speak, since she’s fonder of them than I am. I wonder if maybe she doesn’t want me looking too attractive.
Jordan reveals he’s started a podcast around the same time I’ve started a podcast, and we’re listening to both and saying we’re proud of the other and we like how it sounds, but I wonder, fleetingly, if we’re being honest. I know I am, but is he? And is he wondering the same? I’m wondering how to express pride for him without expressing too much, without appearing too eager or too wrapped up in the minutia of the conversations we used to have when I didn’t analyze how they went for hours afterward.
Karyn writes a song about our cats, but it could be mistaken for a song about a cranky old couple, which is exactly what she wanted, but some of her lyrical choices are not my favorite and I want to tell her that but I don’t because I never have before, so why would I start telling her now?
A crowd is divided in half, split down the center where I walk toward Jordan. Then Karyn walks toward us. He says to us and to the crowd, “Love is an action, not a feeling.” He says this, among other things, before asking us to read what we’ve written down, before we exchange rings. Karyn cries, and I can no longer count how many times she’s cried with me on just two hands; now I’ll need ten fingers and a toe.
Karyn is three time zones over on tour playing music for strangers, and Jordan is a time zone over jamming on the guitar with old friends in his basement, and I’m listening to classical music for a change, and the television is off, and I’m ignoring whatever notifications pop up on my smartphone, and my tea has grown cold, the gingerbread flavor stiff, but I’m still sipping away and listening for the rain they’ve promised us.
Jordan texts me:
If life/perception is on a continuum of nihilism and its opposite (i.e., everything fucking matters), then living life accordingly to one or the other will certainly yield very different outcomes. It’s truly unknowable…whether this all matters…or whether we’re all just bacteria floating through space on some giant alien’s galactic turd.
Karyn texts me:
I wonder what our farts will smell like when we are old?
Jude Brewer’s writing has appeared in both the US and the UK through various lit journals, anthologies, and short films, including New Millennium Writings, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Scintilla Press, and Cultured Vultures. He is the host and creator of Storybound, a podcast produced by Lit Hub Radio and The Podglomerate, a joint venture inspired from Jude’s original literary “radio theatre” podcast, Storytellers Telling Stories.
OCTOBER 20, 2018 / MUSEPAPER STORY PRIZE #8 / FRIENDSHIP