Brandon bit his lip in concentration as he folded the rolling paper over in his hands, trying to keep the weed from spilling out. I watched from the floor as he sighed in frustration and started over, unsatisfied with the appearance. He claimed he’d seen his friends roll joints hundreds of times, and it was easy. Simple really, he said. He was probably lying. His chemistry homework sat next to my computer on the table, most of the problems were only half solved.
He wore off brand shoes from a discount store, even though he had enough money to buy the real things. Some days his ankle high socks were stitched a brand name or an anime character, but most of the time they were plain white and boring. Today they were mismatched, and maybe every day before they had been mismatched too. I wasn’t in the habit of paying too close attention to the socks Brandon wore. The only time I’d see them was when I was laying on the floor of the shed behind his house on the Friday nights, he’d invite me back because he felt sorry for me.
The shed was small, with hard wooden floors that gave my fingers splinters when I was brave enough, or high enough, to rub my hands against the unpolished boards. But I liked the way the floor felt on my back when Brandon gave me his blue blanket to lay on. It was better then the lumpy, lopsided couch where he liked to sit. One side was sunken in more than the rest, from all the time he spent sitting there, smoking weed and downing alcohol. I didn’t know Brandon during his whisky days, but I heard he’d drink eleven shots an hour every night for days at a time and stopped because he was afraid he was gonna become addicted. I didn’t know if it was true or not and I never really felt like asking.
Brandon’s fingers fumbled, spilling some of the weed onto his unfinished chemistry homework. “Shit,” he said.
“We could look it up,” I said. There were hundreds of low rate marijuana websites with thousands of tips on technique for rolling a joint and recipes for pot brownies on the side bar. I knew, because this wasn’t the first time he’d tried and failed.
“No,” Brandon said, his glasses slid down his nose, but it didn’t seem to bother him “I got it.”
Tonight, would be no different than all the other Friday nights I spent laying on the old uneven floor of Brandon’s shed. I’d watch him quietly while his fingers, chubby and thick, worked to carefully roll paper after paper, until he gave up and settled for smoking out of the Spider man bong him and his friends bought one night as a joke. We’d argue weather Godzilla, or the entire human race would win in a fight, while eating stale potato chips and drinking generic brand soda from the Walmart down the street.
Eventually, I’d start to cry, and he’d ask me why and I’d tell him I was never crying, that he was imagining it, because even with drugs I wasn’t brave enough to tell him about the way I watched his lips when he blew smoke from them, even though he probably already knew. He’d shake his head at me like he always did when I didn’t make sense.
“We’re friends, right?” I’d ask.
“Of course,” he’d say. And I’d wish I was brave enough to call bullshit. He said he didn’t lie, but sometimes I saw the way he looked at me when he thought I was too busy trying to fix a broken lighter too notice. He didn’t look at me the same way I looked at him. Frizzy hair and smudged make up didn’t captivate guys as much as I wished they did. And it probably didn’t help I talked about Philosophy too much and told him Godzilla would explode if we threw salt at him, even though he lived in the ocean. He smiled when I was looking at him, but he smiled at everyone.
When we were together, he probably thought about football teams and what kind of porn he’d watch once I left. I thought about how we’d get high one day and fuck on the lopsided couch, while denying either one of us thought about holding hands and watching horror movies together or that both of us liked the color yellow better than any other color.
Next Friday Brandon would probably toy with the idea of rolling a joint again, and I’d lay there day dreaming about what would happen if I didn’t know he’d lie to me when I told him I liked him. I’d watch him fail again and again, and I’d tell myself that next week would be better to ask.