My best friend slash ex tells me he let her suck his dick.
“I thought you weren’t into that,” I say. “I thought I wasn’t into
that,” he says. He tells me he respects me too much, that’s
why he never wanted me to. He says he’s sorry. This sentiment is ironic
given that the average person would be happy to be exempt from sucking
dick, myself probably included. I know he isn’t lying to spare my
feelings. My best friend slash ex hurts my feelings regularly with the
stinging truth, out of not malice but naive transparency, such as
earlier this conversation when he said he would rather have vented to
her instead of me but she’s at dinner with her brother right now. I’d be
fine with being bad at sucking dick. There are more important skills to
My best friend slash ex asks to come over. He would much rather spend
time with me than her, he says. He didn’t have to say this. I know it’s
also true. “But you’d much rather vent to her,” I reply. I don’t enjoy
being petty. My best friend slash ex says I have until midnight to
continue milking this. I do until midway through the next day.
My best friend slash ex and I watch the rest of the movie about the K9
officer and his rescued shelter dog. The dog rescues the shelter owner’s
child in the end: all comes full circle. My best friend slash ex is an
officer in training. He wants to be a K9 officer too once he finishes
the academy, once he’s settled into things. He is practically a dog
himself: a golden retriever, as he said she’d once called him, always
vibrating with energy, perpetually distracted by cars/ squirrels/ other
dogs. He is like the officer in the movie, scatterbrained, forgetful,
but brimming with heart.
My best friend slash ex texts her throughout the film. I’m not used to
this. She doesn’t know that we’re together right now, as though it’s
something shady. “I’m so anxious,” she says every time I see him. “I’m
so anxious,” she says, as if my best friend slash ex were my ex slash
best friend and we hadn’t spent three initial years and eight recent
months seeing each other alone without fucking.
I can see where she’s coming from when I picture the inverse. It’s been
three weeks. She doesn’t understand how things work yet. I’m The Witch
to every woman my best friend slash ex brings into our lives. I have yet
to meet one of them thus far, have only met them vicariously through
anecdotes and the shadows they cast over things.
My best friend slash ex will see her tomorrow after we go to the EDM
concert. That night we get dinner at the bar where we spent New Year’s
Eve as a couple slash my birthday before last as friends. The latter was
the origin of “rage fucking,” an inside joke based on a punchline from
my standup, the thing one or the other of us says at the end of every
call, whoever does first and hangs up wins. It’s one of the few things
that’s carried over from our relationship, a secret code which confuses
My best friend slash ex takes her call before dinner. He talks to her
like a dog. I am glad he never spoke to me that way. “I’m just so
anxious,” I hear her say. I want to scream at her to not be. I told him
he should have told her I was gay, should have shown her the picture of
me in the button-up with the cacti and my hair all spiked up.
My best friend slash ex will continue to text her at the concert. I’ll
let him without complaint. It’s fair since this time she knows we’re
together. I don’t want her to be even more “just so anxious”. I want her
to like me. I want her to trust us. I want the two of us to be pals and
laugh about my best friend slash ex together. She has him saved as
“Vanilla” on her phone, apparently, so I already know we’ll get along.
When she found out that his best friend is also his ex, when he told
her, the first thing she said was “If you do something stupid with her,
I won’t feel like this was a waste. I’ll be glad that we had a good time
while it lasted.”
I don’t enjoy this: being seen as a problem by the mere nature of my
title, nor the usual state of reality being seen as a point of threat,
nor the math that says four years and eight months is equal to
one-to-four weeks. But I can’t feel the wrong way because my role is the
smiling non-threat who is thrilled with the new state of reality and
does not get in the way and does not feel replaced because I need to
disprove assumptions because to them I am the bridge troll, the one
roadblock in their path to being with the sweet lanky Chinese guy who
talks to them like a dog and kisses well and forgets things and loves
When my best friend slash ex texts her again in the middle of the
concert I go get my second drink, even though I’ve vowed to
be “bone dry” slash “sober as a nun” when I
see him, because last time we got drunk together two months ago we
nearly fucked on my couch. I text the comedian, the man I’d
fucked directly before and directly after my best friend slash ex, the
bread of the fuck sandwich, even though the last thing I want is another
human in my space. “I never stopped dreaming of you,” the comedian says.
“You’re a babe.” Fire emoji heart emoji.
My best friend slash ex appears next to me, offers to pay for my drink
because he knows I am getting pissed off. I order a double vodka seltzer
and do not check the price. He gets a beer. It’s an IPA, one that Sam
introduced him to, Sam from April who wouldn’t let me talk to him on the
phone without her in the room listening on speaker. He includes this
detail to bug me, but it’s all in jest.
My best friend slash ex says my drink tastes like rubbing alcohol. He
keeps hugging me from the side. I tell him to not but eventually I
figure what the hell. He says he means nothing by it. I know he believes
this. He falls asleep on my apartment floor after the concert is over.
I consider putting a blanket on him but figure this will wake him up. He
does wake up, eventually, when she calls.
He says he’s really tired. She says she’s sad. I say don’t drive if
you’re drunk. He says he’s sobering up. He says he’ll be there soon. He
gathers his things.
The comedian asks when he can see me again. The last time he did was a
Tuesday in April, at that bar where my best friend slash ex and I had
spent New Year’s Eve slash my birthday. My jaw had dropped mid-sentence
when I saw my best friend slash ex leave the bathroom, saw him sit down
next to the woman who I’d later know as Sam. When I asked, he said he
hadn’t seen me, so I told him I was with a friend. I knew truth would
hurt him. It always has.
My best friend slash ex takes my call an hour and a half later. I say
“rage fucking”. I hang up.