None of these things have happened to me, but rather to Nick, the other one. The one I watch with curious detachment and amusement. I hear the judge call his name and try not to laugh as the stack of misadventures, carbon proof of an elaborate experiment in poor decisions, falls page after page next to the heavy wooden gavel.
To say that we are friends, Nick and I, would be a stretch of his limited imagination. I’ve merely watched him for so long that his habits have become my own. I see his name on the credit card bills and scholarship awards which I use as clues to decipher what he may be up to. He’s high again. Of course he’s high. What choice does he have?
I would never tell him this but I think he’s pathetic. The way he chases oblivion. The way he treats the ones who love him and gives power to the ones who don’t. The way he tries to be anyone but himself and anywhere but here. In my opinion Nick is beyond help. In Nick’s opinion I can’t help him.
We agree to disagree, and thus the constant war against the self I cannot live without carries on. His eyes, empty of intent, and his life, distilled to a single point that pierces scarred white skin never leave the ground, searching for something he can’t remember ever having. He stares at his shadow of doubt, wondering why they wear the same size 30 jeans, jacket in opposing hands.
I’ll freely admit, there’s a beauty to his hedonism.
“No one ever really changes they just get better at hiding who they really are” he tells me one night.
For once, I think we might agree.