“I need a ride. Take me home.”
I did. Stupid. I shouldn’t have but being nice was always my constant curse and offering her a ride home was the most recent example of this fault in my then 19-year-old self.
She wasn’t a stranger. She wasn’t an acquaintance or only a friend.
Throughout high school, we gather a good number of acquaintances and friends and, of those, some are elevated by some strange teenage voodoo to the status of ‘best friend’. Of these still, only one or two or three truly deserve the label. He was one of them, and this girl, she was his girlfriend.
She was his girlfriend.
The break-up was a week before but she was still around. At that exact moment, to my misfortune, me and my nice disposition happened to still be around too.
I pull up in front of her home. She turns her body in the passenger seat towards me and tells me to turn the car off, that we should talk a while. I did, nice guy that I was. I left the stereo on, the album “Live Through This” by the band Hole playing in its CD player.
The next hour and a half went something like this:
Has he said anything? I can’t believe it’s over. Me! Why would anyone want to not be with me? He’s the one that’s fucking crazy. Would you leave me if we were together? I gave everything to him. Everything! What am I going to do now? You have to help me. Will you help me? You’ve always been nice. I should be with you. You want to be with me? You do. You want me? You do. You know you do. You know you do, you know you do…
I fought. The entire time, my insides fought her with all the niceties that I could muster. I avoided her eyes. I forced my hands still on the steering wheel or by my side. I tried to not look at her short dress, her legs, her hands and arms that inched their way towards me. By the end, she leaned a mere inches away with words slithering from her mouth into my ear; I could feel her breath on my neck, smell the mint she had finished in her mouth that was getting too close to mine.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I reached out, crossed over her hips and opened the passenger door.
“You need to go.”
She was very attractive, irresistible almost…but he was one of my best friends and that made her trouble. She couldn’t believe she was being rejected. She called me something I can’t remember and left. He is still a friend, a life brother.
A piece of her lip-liner broke off when she was leaning over and the scarlet stain remained on the passenger seat for as long as I had the car. The “Live Through This” CD played twice over in the time we were parked in front of her house. To this day, my brain can’t help but have a chill rush through it from that night when any song from the album comes on.
Being nice isn’t always the best route. Lesson learned.