“What the fuck?” I scream.
And Ben peeks his head out from the kitchen. “What’s wrong?”
“You know that crazy bitch who’s moving into the room down the hall from me?”
“Yea.” he says, fluffing his hair, “I don’t like her.”
“She put an ad on Craigslist saying my room is for rent.”
“Are you sure it’s not for the room downstairs. I mean, if you don’t like her, maybe that Becky chick doesn’t like her either. It’s probably just a misunderstanding.”
I reread the ad. “No. There’s no misunderstanding. The headline is Shitty Roommate Must Go, and there’s fucken pictures of my room, with all my stuff in it."
“I’ll just finish making the tea then.”
I call Celeste, and start verge of tear bitching about this crazy situation, and how I can’t afford to put a deposit on a new place to live, and...and she says she’ll be over to Ben’s as soon as she can, in order to help me come up with new ideas about where I might move.
“You could stay here.” Ben says, and hands me a cup of tea.
“As long as you don’t mind sleeping on the van seat.”
I sip the tea. It’s wretched.
“Oh, I forgot to mix it with the orange juice. Want some?”
I decline. I’ve never liked orange juice.
“Suit yourself.” And he lights up a Galouises.
“Where’d you get that?” I ask. “I thought you told me that the convenience stores nearby were officially out of them, what with the whole French not exporting them here anymore.”
“Yea, but I keep finding stores with a couple packs left. I should just stop smoking them, but it’s like that exboyfriend who’s no good for you, who calls every once in a while, and you can’t help but invite him over and fuck him.”
“You are now, officially, the King of Analogies.”
He smiles. I get the chills.
“I kind of ground up the stems, so the tea is a little...thick. Next time I think I’ll leave the stems out.” Saying the tea was a little thick was like saying Don King was a little unscrupulous. A tad wordy. I use a spoon to chew the first half of the tea, chasing it with lemonade. The second half, I down as quickly as possible, but not as quickly as Ben does. “Is it hitting you yet?” He asks, his eyes: a cat watching a nuclear explosion.
“I don’t know.” We head up to his roof to smoke, and watch the sun consume the city around us. A hot guy comes up and starts doing tai chi in front of us. This is the best high ever. My phone rings. It’s Celeste. She'’s downstairs waiting to be let in. While I go downstairs, Ben grinds up another batch of tea.
“Your eyes.” She says. “Have you been crying? You looked positively wrecked.”
But I’m not wrecked. I’m rebuilding.