Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Beliebe in you

“What the shunck are you wearing?” Eric asked her that as soon as he saw her approaching.
Naomi made a groan sound. “Please don’t do that right now. You can’t just use that word the same way you use ‘fuck’ and say you invented a new word.” To Calisto she said “Thank you for letting us in. I’m so dumb I left my keys over at Eric’s again, and it’s been such a long, brutal day and I’m so done with it.”
Calisto held eye contact with both of them as she unlocked their door. “Sorry I locked you guys out. I was showing Monte the roof.”
“Where is he, we didn’t cockblock you guys, did we?” Eric laughed to no one and the girls entered in front of him.
“Don’t bother apologizing,” Naomi said. “I’m the one who’s always getting on your ass about leaving the door unlocked when you take out the trash. It’s really my fault.”
“That’s a good point,” Eric said, as if carrying on a dropped thread of conversation without missing a beat. “Should we lock Monte out?”
“Maybe he went home,” Calisto said. She had headed for the drinks and tried to pour out the last of the wine bottle Monte had brought. The scant few drops remaining formed a tiny puddle at the bottom of her glass which she gulped down immediately.
“Looks like you guys really got started without us. I’m so sorry we made you wait.” Calisto wasn’t hearing, wandering around the kitchen for more booze. Naomi followed and went sotto voce with her next few words: “This isn’t a crime scene, is it? What did the guy do?”
The bottle of vodka was going to be empty after the next shot. Was it okay to drink liquor after half a bottle of wine? Calisto couldn’t remember. They were cleaned out. “I’m going to the store,” she said. “I’ll be right back.” She would have made it out the door if Monte hadn’t chosen that moment to walk right in. It wasn’t that his physical frame couldn’t have been pushed aside, it was more that Calisto no longer felt any need to escape once the fact of his presence was established. To walk out now would seem rude, but it also would seem to grossly exaggerate the danger she had felt herself to be in just a moment earlier. Or, as an abstract topic of conversationthe man was overwhelming. As a matter of physical fact, he could be dealt with. The reality of who he was diminished the specter of his existence.

I beliebe in you

Was he tipsy or something? He just kind of stood there like his mind had gone blank.There was a moment where Calisto thought he might forget how to stand and just topple to the floor. That could happen when somebody was having an aneurysm, or was it a stroke? She’d heard it was one of those. The others looked back at him and Eric broke the silence with “Good to see you, Marshmallow Matey.” That didn’t necessarily break up the tension, which it was dawning on everybody occurred strictly between Monte and Calisto at this point, with the others only there to observe, but it did something.

Baldo,” Monte acknowledged Eric’s salutation. This was followed up by more empty space.
Move the jaws, thought Calisto. Carry this ball to another place. “There’s nothing to drink here,” she said. “I was just going out to get some.”
“Let me go,” said Monte. “I was just peeing off the roof when I noticed this glass was empty and I could have been peeing into it.” He gestured with his mug unenthusiastically as he said this.
Naomi walked up and snatched the mug away. “Thank you for not peeing in our glass.”
“Calisto, we should go to the store together,” Monte said. “We can talk about stuff.”
Naomi was vigorously rinsing the mug out at the kitchen sink, as if worried he actually had peed in it, and said “Actually, can Eric go with you? I need Calisto to help me cook something up for you boys.” Calisto glanced over at Naomi giving her a questioning look. Naomi looked back as if expecting her to go along.
“Yyyyeah,” Calisto said. “She sets toast on fire if I’m not around.”
Eric stood up. “I guess it’s settled, then! Men run the errand, women run the kitchen. Come on, let’s get out of the way.” Monte stared at Calisto, looking for some sign of protest. She looked away until the two males were gone.
Naomi, who had busied herself setting dishes on the kitchen counter, put everything down and turned to Calisto. “What the hell was that?”
“I don’t know what…”
Is he getting in your head? If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were falling for this guy.”
“It’s been a weird night. He didn’t do anything. All he did was cry in front of me. I was bad. I kind of jerked off in the bathroom while he was here.”
“Ugh, why?”
“I don’t know, I just knew that if I didn’t w
e’d get in trouble. My signals were getting all mixed and… he must not know how to take a hint or something. I’m probably just ovulating, it was nothing. It was any port in a storm or something. God, I don’t know, it’s just confusing right now. Like what are we? What are we doing, and what are we?”
Naomi backed off a bit. “I understand, it’s a confusing time. Just be careful. And call me next time. If you have to fingerblast yourself in order to keep your hands off a guy, you’re already in trouble.”
“Are we actually making anything?” Calisto asked. “I’m really hungry now.”
Naomi had already located a tube of cinnamon rolls from the fridge and set about twisting it until it popped open. “Tell me what happened,” she said, peeling off the outer wrapping and running her fingernails along the seam before finally forcing the package with a butterknife. “Was he hitting on you? Did you let yourself get sloppy drunk in front of him? Are you still sloppy drunk now?”
“Naomi, this is hard enough.” She began helping her by preheating the oven and peeling the individual rolls out. “
I just felt close to him for like, 30 seconds. It’s already passed me by.”
“You said he cried? He cried and you got so turned on you had to get yourself off?”
“Eww, no! It was the other way around. I came out and he showed me the site and we went on the roof and he just started crying.”
“Ooh, are you going to show us the site?”
“I don’t know, we should wait til everybody gets back.” The site suddenly felt beside the point for Calisto, despite being their ostensible reason for gathering that night. 
The moment of triumph had passed, only those who were involved with it could understand.“It’s not that big a deal,” she said, 180ing from her initial reaction that the site was going to be their ticket to fame and fortune.
“Let’s not get sidetracked,” Naomi suggested. “You may be trying to fuck this whole thing up in classic Calisto fashion, but I Beliebe in you.”
“Did you just say you Beliebe in me?” Calisto scoffed. They both laughed and she felt the way Naomi had made her feel many times before, like someone was looking out for her. Lately, she realized, she had been getting that same feeling from another source.
Eric and Monte came through the door just as the oven timer was going off. Naomi had showered during the interval and was now lounging in a robe and pajama pants. Calisto had taken the opportunity to pore over the site once more, luxuriating in the creation of a thing to call her own, which she couldn’t have made without someone’s help. The two roomies had both enjoyed just being roomies again for a while. Who knew how much longer that would last, after all. Calisto had to admit that sending them out for the liquor had been a good idea, maybe for all of them.
“Did you guys get lost or something?” Naomi asked.
“There’s a price war going on or something,” Eric said. ”We ended up going six blocks the other way to save a buck or two. It was totally worth it, apparently.” Monte wasunloading bottles out of a bag as Calisto put a hot pan of cinnamon buns on a dishtowel.
“That smells fantastic,” Monte said, pouring Coke and whiskey into a paper cup.
“I was going to say the same thing,” Calisto responded.
“You guys really went overboard,” Naomi said. “We don’t really get this tanked.”
“We do tonight,” Monte said.
 “Hope you guys like the feeling of your head getting smashed in tomorrow morning.” He tossed back his drink, made another one and handed it, of all people, to Eric.
He lifted his cup and toasted, “To all the shuncks we’ve not yet shuncked.”
“The meaning has to be apparent by its usage,” Naomi said, not being heard.
“So you figured out what it means?” Calisto asked. “Or are you just throwing it around still.”
“Its meaning should be apparent by now,” Eric said.
“Well, Monte came up with just about the perfect meaning before you guys got here. Go on, tell him
 what you called him.” Calisto motioned with her head. Monte looked back at her, a blank expression suddenly filling with apprehension and attempting to signal, through raised eyebrows and flashes of teeth, to drop the subject.
“This should be good,” Eric said. “What did you call me this time?”
Monte gritted at Calisto, took his second drink and responded, “I told her you were a douchey cunt. Dou, chey, cunt.”
Even Naomi wasn’t quite sure what would happen next. The two males just stared at each other, and in the meantime Monte picked up a hot bun and took a bite. Eric broke the silence with a fit of laughter, and everyone eased up.
“That’s awesome! Okay, that is the definition.
“Shouldn’t it be ‘Shunt’ if that’s what it means?” Naomi asked, as no one listened, as no one should.
Calisto and Naomi were cleaning up at the end of the night. Instead of getting tanked, they’d all imbibed one extra drink and felt exhausted, so Monte just left a liquor cabinet’s worth of alcohol in their kitchen, saying “Just bring it to work on Monday.” Eric excused himself next, saying he needed to go buy some floss and then floss his teeth. Half the cinnamon buns remained uneaten, so they’d been stashed in the microwave for quicker reheating the next morning.
“We should have company more often,” Naomi said, putting away the dishes they’d used.
“We never have people over anymore.”
“That turned out pretty fun,” Calisto admitted. “It was tough getting there, but we did eventually get chill.”
“Did you see Monte getting the staredown? I thought we’d be mopping up blood.”
“That was a 
nice moment. Not knowing who was going to blink first.”
Before they could go to bed Naomi made them sit on their couch together a little while longer, which meant she had something serious to discuss. Calisto knew what she was going to say and didn’t want to hear it, but also had nothing else to say herself, so she resorted to wondering about the potential for violence earlier in the night as if that topic required further investigation.
“Do you think Eric would be more likely to punch someone in the nose, or in the gut?” Naomi looked back at her, not having it. “Calisto.”
“In the junk?”
“Calisto, I’m sorry, but we have to do this.”
“Why? This isn’t fun, so we don’t have to do it. We’ll do it tomorrow and go to bed happy tonight. Please, 
Naomi, I just had a good night.”
“We have to do this. You’ll always have this night. I’m moving in with Eric.”
“You are.”
“This is how it has to go. I’m sorry but it just feels like we’re holding you back at this point. You’re free now.”
“So that’s it? You guys are getting married and that’s it?”
“Sure, we’re getting married. Eventually. But we have to do this first.”
“You practically live at his place now. Why not just stay there and this can be your vacation home? I’ll keep it nice for you.” Calisto knew her please were getting pathetic, but she barely saw her best friend as it was and this felt like the death knell for whatever friendship they still maintained, on a night where she felt closer to her than she had in quite some time.
“I’m sorry, Calisto. There’s a fine line between helping and enabling. We’ve been over this. We’ll still help you out while you’re looking for your next place. But you have to be looking. We can’t do it for you.”
Calisto lunged forward to embrace her friend. The two women hugged until the mood changed and Calisto pulled back. “Thanks for looking out for me, Naomi,” she said.
“Always,” said Naomi. “This is such an exciting time for you. No matter what happens next, you’re going to make it.”
Calisto laid up in bed that night sorting through the changes in her mind. It felt like she had come a longer way in this last night than she had the previous six months. For all the trouble she had given herself trying to make her life mean more than the sum of its failures and embarrassments, there was as much to be proud of in it as there was to point at and laugh. Even the ridiculous aspects of her life seemed too comical to actually cause her any pain. How could change be a bad thing if the fresh, joyful feeling of a new start was stirring her soul to such peaceful reflections?

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