She’s sitting across from me at a bar on Magazine Street. The place with the beer tap fountain in the courtyard and the fat girl in floral print short shorts on the bar stool. Amber and I are on our second pitcher of Purple Haze and our first and only order of $18 nachos with everything on them. I’ve excused myself to the restroom three times now because I don’t want her to know that I’m texting. Actually, I’m not really texting at all. I’m hastily jotting down notes from our conversation. I’m feeling the grip of my beloved beer buzz, so I want to get this all down while I’m still lucid. Plus, I’m trying to be polite by not texting in front of her. She’s eating nachos like it’s the end of days and we’re talking and it would be rude of me to put my phone between us. And that’s when I realize that I’ve never done this before.
The first time I met her, I thought she was lying to me. Amber Champion isn’t a real name I told her. It’s a stripper’s name. And it might actually be the fakest-sounding stripper’s name of all time. But she was able to convince me without ever pulling out her ID. She can convince anyone of anything. One of her many talents.
Amber wipes her lips with a napkin and tussles her mane of perfect, auburn hair. We’re discussing the reasons why anyone would be nice to their ex — a topic of which I’m a motherfucking sensei. I slap my hands on the table when I tell her that one of my exes would call me when he [rightfully] suspected that his new boyfriend was cheating on him. He would ask me to come over and he would cry and we would have sex and then I would leave and check on him later to see how he was feeling. Other times, he would call me when he was having trouble with his marketing homework. And I would drop what I was doing and write his entire marketing report from thin air. And that was my mistake. Because he didn’t care. When I would leave his apartment, he would immediately go back to screwing his other exes and saying weird, passive aggressive things to me whenever I saw him out. And no one went off to live in Narnia. And he’ll always be an ass. And being a good friend to him will never change that.
Now I’m all wound up and my face is redder than usual. I shotgun my beer and pour myself another, which I drink half of. Amber’s thinking. She says that if her exboyfriend called her and needed something, she’d still be there for him. Because he’s a person. And you should be there for people. Because they’re people. And it’s just that easy.
I want to tell her that what she’s describing is a rabbit hole, but I can’t. She’s gone through the ringer and come out on the other side of a long, painstaking relationship to say nice things like that. But who the fuck am I to correct her? She’s probably right. Maybe it’s just that easy.
The thing about Amber is that I don’t have to look hard to see the best in her. She inspires me to care more about the people in my life. And even though she’s sitting across from me with her cheeks full of tortilla chips and cheese, she’s still one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in person. And it’s impossible not to feel good when I’m around her. And if there’s one thing I want to tell her, it’s this:
I don’t know what to say when you hold up two dresses and ask me to choose. Because I’m always going to pick the sluttier one. Because that’s the one I would wear if I were you. Because a sluttier dress improves your chances of getting layed. And how else are you going to know if someone likes you unless they’re having sex with you? I have no idea what women want and you’re making me feel like I’m not being a very good gay when you put me in this position.
I'd say this and she'd smile. And that's all I'd need from her.
|A. Champ & a champ.|