There was a boy who lived in the basement of the Sober Cult Mansion that I once called home. Forced once again into reluctant sobriety, at least the opulent surroundings were familiar and welcome. Plus, I got to keep my Suboxone.

The boy told me he was a rapper, and I immediately dismissed him as unfriendable. I mean he was white, and judging from his clothes and speech, came from a background almost identical to mine. What could he possibly have to rap about?

I avoided him for a few weeks until my curiosity got the best of me, and I ventured down into his lair. Then I asked the boy to play me his songs.

I’m expecting to cringe with embarrassment, but I ask him to keep playing the next one until he runs out. His songs are good, like really good. I get one stuck in my head for days after our basement encounter.

He becomes my best friend at the Sober Cult Mansion. We talk about books, music, drugs, and girls. He starts calling me ‘platinum flip’ because of my hair, and I think his first name is his last name for almost a month.

The boy leaves the Cult before I do the following year, but our lives remain oddly intertwined.

He sleeps with the girl I have tattooed on my ankle. I move his ex-girlfriend into the estate I call home in Richmond, and we hook up in a blackout. Me and the girl, not me and the boy.

The boy lives with my briefly in Fairfax and falls in love with Mitra. We both convince him not to get into escorting and how to shoot heroin like a professional. At points, we live in the same Oxford house and work at the same restaurant at different times. The boy moves (briefly) to Madison, WI and runs into my grade school friend at a bar on St. Patrick’s day.

We don’t always see eye to eye. He looks down on me for dating that guy from the beach and turning in my dealer. I look down on him for still living in Winchester and getting the world’s creepiest tattoo. He apologizes for swiping that credit card (long story). And I apologize for having the Hell’s Angels throw him out of Richmond (longer story).

Sometimes years will pass before a phone call, but every time we talk it’s like we are 19 again, and the past decade has yet to unfold.

Like always, the boy and I currently occupy the same space, in different cities of course. We are soberish (most of the time), not because we want to be, but because the legal system has finally caught up with us. Our parent’s money can no longer buy our freedom.

The boy has charges looming this year for an alleged drug infraction, and I’m currently ducking consequences from an alleged DUI. Always alleged, never confirmed, we continue to skate by.

The boy and I are two of the smartest people I know, but we can’t seem to figure life out.

Next year we’ll turn 30.

We were better off when he lived in the basement, and I shared a room with the pregnant dog.

Consequence  free and listening to track after track.


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