“I don’t know why I behave like a child around you,” he said, after he pinched me.
“You are a man-child,” I said.
He nodded very seriously. Brian reached across the table and took hold of my cell phone. He began to scroll through the pictures on it. I hadn’t looked at any of them in over a month.
“You look so cute in all of these pictures. You look much cuter than the pictures you put on the internet. Why don’t you use these pictures on the internet?”
“Because they were taken special for someone.”
He held the phone to me. On the display screen was photo he had taken for me months ago, with his hair mussed up and his face half buried in a pillow. I pushed the cell phone away from my face.
“I don’t want to see that.”
I felt the lump in my throat begin to throb. My eyes welled a little bit.
“What’s up kiddo?”
“Sorry, I think I’m pre-menstrual. I’ve been crying at the drop of a hat all day today. You know how I get.”
Brian reached one arm across the table and pet my arm while he continued to scroll through the pictures. He remarked a few more times how cute I looked. He held my elbow and I felt vulnerable. It felt good to feel vulnerable.
“Who is this cat? There are like, 200 pictures of him.”
I began to cry.
“Don’t be. I like you when you’re sad. You look the best when you are teary.”
“So what happened? Did you date him?”
“No. I dunno. It’s all so typical now. My friends teased me for being so sad about it. I met him on the internet. He came to visit me. I liked him more than he did me. He left and stopped calling. I became too emotional and he became annoyed and spiteful. Now there is not really much else to talk about.”
“Why are you crying?”
He squeezed my elbow and reached up and pet my head. Brian continued to play with my hair while he scrolled through my pictures.
“Whoa. You should delete these naked pictures dude.”
“But you want people to see them.”
“You’ve got great tits.”
“You’re my little buddy. I love you.”
“I love you too Brian.”
He was still playing with my hair.
“The things you’ve been saying all night make more sense now. I get it. It’s good to see what sparked these recent feelings. They seemed a little fake before. Now I get it.”
“Yeah. Being alone is nicer.”
“I love you.”
“Remember when I knocked your ice cream cone on the ground last summer?”
He started to cackle manically. It was frightening. I sniffled the snot back into my nose and laughed.
“You’re an asshole.”
“Fuck you. Die.”
“I’m glad we are friends.”
I crossed my arms and turned away. Brian reached across the table and shoved his finger up my nose. He then wiped his finger across my face.