A few days ago I got a call from a very old friend of mine. We’d drifted apart over the years due in no small part to her having a fling with a boyfriend of mine at the time cause ‘it was 2002 and everyone’s doing it Lou, maybe your failure to notice that is indicative of your failure to notice his wants and needs…’ Subsequently he left me ‘because all you do is write Lou and walk around in your pants, it’s like being allergic to sugar and being asked to mind a Mars bar’ and then he set up shop with her, but as luck or dare I say karma would have it he was rumoured to have had an affair with her mother but she assured me as she sat down opposite me that they were working things through because the whole mother incident was really her own fault, because she was the one that had been insistent on renting The Graduate during the summer of the alleged affair.
‘That’s great’ I mumbled as I watched her attempt to perch herself on what can only be described as the most ill designed bar stool of the day.
‘It just never fails to surprise me just how influential and persuasive cinema, the moving image if you will can be’. She fiddled with her Bailey’s martini as I contented myself with mineral water.
‘On anti-depressants hey Lou?’
‘No, why would you say that?’
‘Just the whole mineral water thing.’
‘I’m just not drinking today; I’m going to the gym later.’
‘Oh as a way of combating your depression?
‘I don’t get depression; I just go to the gym.’
‘No, I go regularly.’
‘Really?…oh I wouldn’t have guessed, must be the thighs – they distract the eye.’
I didn’t say anything for a bit because to be honest I was growing tired of these passive aggressive encounters with people from my past – sure I’ll admit my thighs aren’t great, but I’d done quite well making ‘average’ work and was going to be damned if I was going to let her get away with such a vitriolic remark.
‘Still dying your hair I see….’ I took a moment to revel in my hi-five worthy jab.
‘Of course Lou, after the chemotherapy my hair pretty much turned grey – this was just one to bring a little bit of sunshine to my life.’
‘Oh shit, I didn’t know – when did you…’ I waited for the earth to open up and swallow me whole but apparently not everything that happens on Buffy happens in real life – once again I found myself having to pen yet another letter to the WB television network…
‘When did you get cancer?’
She looked at me oddly as she glanced at the sticky tape holding my shoes together.
‘I never had cancer, I had chemotherapy – you know where they laser your hair, I got my forehead done cause of my cowlick – you have a cowlick don’t you Lou? Wasn’t that how you explained away your abnormally small forehead?’
‘It’s really important that you never ever confuse chemotherapy with laser hair removal therapy ever again.’
I watched as she dunked her chocolate twirl biscuit further into her Bailey’s concoction.
‘It’s all just therapy Lou, all just therapy – I do love how you insist on specificity, it’s still really cute after all these years.’
And there it was, the mention of the revealing elephant in the room – why had she been so insistent on meeting up with my again after all these years…?
‘Because Lou I need to apologise, maybe it was having to sit through hours of laser hair removal therapy, gosh I don’t know but something just really bought my life into sharp perspective and I knew I needed to apologise to you, I just suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of guilt.’
I straightened my back, waiting for the inevitable ‘I wronged you Lou’ speech and contemplated the fact that sometimes I wished I wore trousers more often because they really would’ve been most befitting for the occasion.
‘I just wanted to say I’m really sorry I never returned your Dawson’s Creek box set -‘
‘- what!’ I interjected ‘-let me finish Lou, and yes, I know I didn’t even ask you if I could borrow it but at the time I thought you’d say no and I just really wanted to see the complete 3rd season and my torrent download kept f**king up and Lou surely you can emphasise, I mean we’re still talking about the days of dial-up.’
‘You made me come and meet you after 4 years to apologise for borrowing some DVD’s?’
‘It was a box set Lou and we all knew how much you liked Pacey and it just got to the point where it was tearing me up inside – you know I kept getting this image of you all alone with no one to hold you and love you and there you are sitting on the floor in just your pants, peanut butter just smeared on them cause you don’t even care about eating toast properly anymore, just staring at a blank screen all confused about what you did wrong and how you did haven’t the height to stop him from turning to me to fill some sort of void, a chasm in his life that you had created if I might be so bold – so you understand why I had to apologise.’
‘We are still talking about you taking my Dawson’s Creek box set right?’
‘Yes, what else could I possibly be talking about?’
‘The fact you were my best friend and you shacked up with my ex.’
‘Oh, no…that, I’ve got nothing to apologise for there Lou – he’d broken up with you already by the time we hooked up.’
‘No we hadn’t’
‘Yes, yes he had, sure he didn’t get around to telling you in person for a few weeks but everyone else knew.’
I finished my mineral water and went to settle the tab.
‘So after all this did you bring my box set with you, you know as a sign of good faith – that you truly are sorry?’
‘Really Lou? You wanted me to replace to it? Would that make you feel better? I mean for f**k’s sake – haven’t you moved on by now!?’