It’s hot and dry outside; about 102 degrees today. It’s an unbearable kind of hotness - the hotness that stings the hairs on your forearm and draws sweat in all of the most unlikely places. It’s a struggle to breathe evenly. I’m not sure if humidity is better than dryness, but I don’t think it would make much of a difference at this point. Sid and I are getting breakfast because his mother left for work early today. She’s a registered nurse at my doctor’s office. It’s weird when your best friend’s mother asks you to bend down to check for scoliosis. Everyone uses that against him and sometimes, I almost feel bad.
This diner is around ten miles away from my house. Of course I pleaded not to go so far out of town, especially when there are local diners with fans and all sorts of cooling nearby. You know Sid - always trying to make some sort of sense out of something totally mindless. I eventually agreed only because he promised I’d drive his car across town. It’s a Charger, so this makes me his minion today. A minion I have no problem being.
We pull up to the diner and it’s not a bad looking one. It’s in San Francisco! It has a nice parking area with florescent lights that say “The San Francisco Dinery” on the rooftop. I didn’t know dinery was a word until now. Sid steps out the car with a curly bush of uncombed hair. He’s going for the Fairport Convention look which doesn’t work unless he sees a barber. I’m actually embarrassed to be seen with him right now. My hair is pretty relaxed. It goes great with any weather and cooperates like it should. There’s this Ringo Starr thing about it. It’s wild, but sleek, like my personality. I dig it. Girls dig it. I dig that.
We get a table with those leather booth seats. You know, the ones that you’ll practically fly out of because of its slipperiness? My thighs are burning - roasting like baseball game peanuts. The table is completely made from marble and glass which feels like an iron on my elbows. Just looking at Sid makes me more unhinged. I’m about to grab this knife and go insane with his hair.
San Francisco is the last place my parents would want me to be. We almost moved because we were nothing but 30 minutes away. Parents take one bad part of a story and exaggerate the hell out of it. The worst part is that they’ll always refer back to it when trouble arises. Last year, 37 teenagers under the age of 20 were arrested for possession of grass. Every now and then, my mom lectures me about the flower children and their use of heroin because of it. Are you kidding me? It didn’t even happen in San Francisco, it was San Antonio. Adults hear what they want to hear.
After watching all the busy waiters serve everyone who has come after us, we place in our orders. A blonde woman comes up to our table and gives us her rehearsed, insincere speech of how hectic everything is today and how we get our price halved for waiting so patiently. She has freckles across her forehead and down her nose bridge. I notice them every time she bends her head down to change Sid’s order he puts in and out. I watch her sway as she walks off after having her day made worst by picky customers. I tap on the table to get Sid’s attention. “I think I know that girl.” I whisper.
He shrugs his shoulders, “What girl?” I give him the big eyed look, looking in the waitress’ direction.
“You mean that girl?” Sid raises his arm up and points obviously. I quickly slam his arm down to the table. He’s lost all feeling in it, I bet. “Stop fucking pointing! Jesus, I can’t go anywhere with you.” I can feel a small collection of stares and snares coming from every direction in the room. Sid holds his arm to his chest. “Yeah, I mean that girl. I think her name is Lauren, or something.”
I consider Lauren to be my first friend. She’s one of those cool cats I talked about earlier. She’d do anything for you in a heartbeat. She looks different now. I remember her having really bad teeth and braided pigtails. Now, not so much. Things have gotten longer and straighter and much bigger. Lauren is practically a Barbie doll. I still look like a lanky 13 year old.
Sid shakes his arm to get blood flowing normally again. “What? You think you got a shot?” I don’t like telling Sid about my romantic life. I don’t like telling anyone about it. He puts gasoline over everything and I don’t have a hose big enough to put it out. Wait, that sounded very wrong. You get the point.
“No! What? She’s like my sister.” I protest. Sid gives me a look. He’s looking out for me, which is flattering. Me having a girlfriend is like a father watching his kid ride a bike without hands. It’s revolutionary in Sidney’s book. I'll let him enjoy this for some while.
Lauren comes back with our order. I stare into the window and act like I don’t see her. Sid leans over to me while she puts plates and glasses down. “Hey, man. Incest is love, too.”
My hand is this close to slapping Sid in the face.