“Jonathan,” I hear myself interrupt my friend as he continues to speak nonsense. “Listen. Oscar is dead. You have to let it go.”
“I know.” Jonathan replies, sadness in the crack of his voice. “But what you call nonsense happens to be the only grasp of reality I have left. I’m not stupid, darling. I know I may say things that sound as such, but I know I am speaking about a dead person who was not, in the least minimum, interested in me. I know he loved me, you don’t have to remind me, but he wasn’t IN LOVE with me. I am aware of the difference. I am the difference. It is only a thought that kept me sane. I know, I’m crazy… whatever. You’re right.”
Oscar, Jonathan, and I were the typical outcasts in our class. No shame. We ended up Top Ten and good colleges. Yes, we were a bunch of nerds. We had known each other since second grade, at least that’s the earliest memory we had of us three hanging out together; although Oscar swore we also went to the same preschool. My mother was an alcoholic hot mess my first ten years of existence so I doubt I went to preschool. I’m honestly shocked that I went to school at all. But once I started going, I did my to stay there as long as possible. It was my safe haven. When I saw Jonathan at recess at some point in our young lives, being picked on by some fat bully, I ran to help him. ‘Hey, leave him alone!’ I remember screaming across the playground. Before I could reach them though, Oscar appeared from god knows where and he was already on top of the bully, about to hock a on his face. From that moment on, I’m sure that Jonathan has always looked at Oscar the same way: in awe, mesmerized by Oscar’s mere presence. In his eyes, Oscar never did anything wrong. Oscar would overcome his financial situation by the time he graduated college. Oscar would always adore Jonathan unconditionally. Such wishful thinking, and our support for one another, helped Oscar meet every expectation created in that crazy head of Jonathan.
For our senior prom, we didn’t bring dates. We were each other’s dates. Jonathan wore a corsage and a tiara, a little hesitant about what Oscar would say, but he didn’t even flinch. I mean, Jonathan came out to us in seventh grade and nothing changed since. It was just another day. We didn’t act any different, as he had feared, because we loved him exactly for who he’s been from day one. Sure, we had other friends and acquaintances, but we were the three amigos. No one or nothing could face us when we were together. A friendship of twenty years that only death would do us part, and just that happened too soon one tragic night after one of Oscar’s hopeful dates.
Our high school years were a cliché in a nutshell. We were nerds. We had classes together, we did homework together, we had sleepovers, we hung out on the weekends, we worked at McDonald’s together, we combined our savings to buy a car to share; we were always together so it wasn’t an issue there. Our lives didn’t intertwine, honestly, it was more like just one life in three different bodies; if that's not possible, we proved it wrong. Even after high school, we stayed in touch and gathered as often as our busy lives allowed us to.
My mother died some time during my sixteenth birthday. I did not cry. I was actually surprised she made it that far. Alcohol had taken the best of her, and it was her decision to continue drinking. She knew it was coming, we all did, and she did not care. So why should I? Now, don't get me wrong, I loved my mother. The mother she was before she started drinking, before my father us for another woman. I guess I was angrier at the circumstances that led to her alcoholism. Both my father's infidelity and my mother's decision to drink her sorrows away instead of staying strong for her kids and herself. The rest is just sad foreseen consequential events. Just a matter of time.
It wasn't long, nor hard to get the signature from my father, before I was emancipated. He didn’t want to have anything to do with me; nothing to remind him of my mother, I guess. Either way, as soon as I mentioned my wish to be on my own, he didn't budge. He did provide me with some cash to give me a headstart. I didn't want to take it, but what my mother had left wasn't worth much. And I gave most of it to my Grandma so she could look after my siblings. I was doing the best I could think of, under the circumstances, for everyone. No one put up a fight. No one really cared to begin with, I presumed. Either way, I was out from their lives, my siblings had a better chance being with Grandma, and Life would give me what I needed –eventually.
Oscar and Jonathan were with me all along. From the funeral, the boxing up of belongings, to the court hearings to get my freedom. By graduation, I threw us a going away party of three at my studio apartment We drank till we puked. We ate junk food till we puked some more. We cried and laughed. We shared our fears and hopes for the future now that we were about to endure that road on our own. And we were scared shitless, but we left that day confident that we would do great and that we would always have a place to crash if anything went down south. We would always have each other's back no matter what. After all, we had no one else but each other. It was a fact by default.