It was a Thursday evening when I walked into the water hole. He was sitting in the corner where he always does. I walked over to him, hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.
“What’s up babe, what brings you out?”
“Nothing. Just needed to get out for some air.”
Since our relationship had been on a gradual decline we don’t have much to say to each other. I sat next to him, we sat there together silently. I watched him anxiously look at his phone every few seconds. “Hey, let’s go to Bud’s Bar.” He had mentioned trying to hang out at a new place since we have burnt out our old place. “Sure, why not?” We walked out and headed over to Bud’s Bar. I knew the bouncer there. We would joke with others that we were related, it was a result from an inside joke. I figured that Auggie wasn’t working because it was a weekday evening.
Charlie & I walk in, there is Auggie sitting next to a beautiful blonde woman. I smiled and laughed, walking to him, giving a big hug. I introduced him to Charlie as my brother. Charlie went off in a stern voice “He’s NOT your brother, you’re an only child. We’ve known each other since we were kids and we NEVER mentioned a brother.” “Oh, for fuck sake.” I was kind of embarrassed by his behavior. Normally I don’t get that way with him, but this time he was different. Very stressed.
“We need to talk.” I knew I needed to get a few things cleared up with him. I needed closure from him. Our relationship was no longer what either one of us wanted. We weren’t happy with each other anymore. The gossip, the acquaintances and the bullshit had taken its toll on our remaining connection as friends. We both knew we wouldn’t have sex again. Sex was taken off the table, but the friendship remained and now was in jeopardy too.
“Why did you leave me?”
“I didn’t leave you! I have all this shit to take care of. Babe you know I’ve been stressing on this court bullshit.”
“You left me, without a word. You stopped talking to me.”
“You told me that if I started up with CC again, you wanted no part of me, so if you call what I did leaving then I guess I did. But that is all on you. You wanted it that way.”
“OMG! You’re gonna try to blame your absence on me? Fuck you. Just let me go, I need to hear it from your lips. Tell me we are finished. Done over and I no longer need to be concerned with you.”
“You released from all obligations. We are done. There! Happy??!”
We both sat there silently, processing what just happened between us. I felt relief and sadness. I knew this could be the last time I see him. CC almost succeeded in killing him once, she might complete the job next time. His phone rings, he answers “Ok, Ok. Yes I’m here.” He looks at me “CC is on her way here, thought you should know. You can stay if you want to, but I can’t sit with you. You know she’ll flip out.”
“Oh yes and we can’t have that now can we? I’m glad she will take wonderful care of you.”
We stood there. Looking into each other’s eyes, I think we both knew it would be the last time for a long time, if ever. We didn’t hug each other we just stood there. We both couldn’t do it for whatever the reason we didn’t.
About two weeks afterwards, I was at the water hole when I was approached by damn near everyone there asking about his court date. I didn’t want to talk about it, but I knew he was there. All alone with his thoughts, demons to haunt him during the night. Months have gone by since then, a few barflies ask me about Charlie but I always respond the same way “I know nothing.” Last weekend I talked to some friends of ours, he told me that Charlie told him he had cancer. I stood there numb. There has been no confirmation of this piece of information I have. I heard he lost everything he owned. He was fired from his job, he was sleeping in a spare bedroom of friends, until they tired of him bringing different girls over their house. All the girls they mentioned I already knew of.
Charlie is now an ex.