Who Your Best Friends Are
When I was younger, I didn’t have friends, I just had tormentors I’d keep coming back to. Kids who were just as fucked up and lost as I was. But hard kids, who didn’t hesitate to be cruel. They laughed at me constantly, and always made it clear that my rules were different to theirs. Fairness didn’t enter into it. Kindness was alien. I kept going back, because without them I had no-one.
One day we played hide and seek at the local school. We were almost too old for a kid’s game to be entertaining anymore. But that’s ok, because I was there. When I hid, no-one looked for me. I happened to hide under a wooden deck. They happened to gather and sit there. They talked about me. About how much of a loser I was. Pathetically amusing things I had done. Things I had told one or the other of them in confidence. How they thought I had a crush on the only girl member of the group. I did. She laughed with them and said I was gross. They wandered off and I crawled out. I let myself be found, then it was my turn to seek. They all went home. I wandered the school for a long time looking for friends who were not there.
When I was a bit older, I had friends. They laughed with me. They shared music with me. They asked me things. We played hackey sack together every lunchtime. We drank and smoked weed together on weekends and after school, and sometimes during school. If someone got too fucked up, we looked after them. One day we got caught heading out of school to get stoned. We told them we were going to the dairy. The assistant principal looked at me, a good student, and said “I think you need to take a good hard look at who your best friends are.” I tried hard not to laugh in her face.