This is a story about my friend Levi and why is no longer my friend.
I noticed Levi around the high school campus; he was cute and I would check him out from time to time. One night, he and I happened to be at the same party and I surprised my self by going over to him and chatting him up. We discovered we both liked the arts and bike riding. He lived nearby and asked me if I wanted to come over and see some of the artwork he had done. It was already very late and I agreed, hoping it was a euphemism for something more lascivious. No, he really just wanted to show me his art, which was really good and I was genuinely impressed.
I must have given him my phone number, because he called a few days later and my heart stopped for a few moments. He asked me to go on a bike ride with him, which I readily agreed. Living in a small town with no drivers license, biking was my main mode of transportation aside from bumming rides with friends, so figured I would have no trouble keeping up with him. He headed immediately for Maple hill, which was straight up. I could ride my bike all day, but hated going up hills. I struggled to keep up and made insane straining facial expressions as I followed just behind him. I was in the middle of making the worst, grunting expression when I realized he had a rear view mirror on his bike and could see my monster face. I tried to suddenly look demure and like I was having an easy time of it, but it was too late. Luckily going down the hill was a different story. I love to go fast and so we both flew down the hill at dangerous speeds and I matched him pedal for pedal, hopefully redeeming myself from my earlier struggles.
We chatted on the phone quite a bit after this and made a point of seeing each other at school. Then it happened. He asked me on a date. His Dad worked at this place that showed independent films, which was pretty much the coolest thing to hit our town ever, so we decided to check it out. He picked me up at my home and I introduced him to my mother. As we left, my Mom gave me thumbs up and a wink. It was many years later when Levi confessed he saw her do that, if I had known at the time, I would have dropped dead of teen mortification.
I had only been on one other date before and it was a total disaster. Despite being 17, I did not get much action in high school. I had one serious, topless make-out session with a boy from out of town, which was pretty much it, aside from playing spin the bottle at every opportunity. Anyway, I was nervous beyond belief. So nervous, that during the movie, I was afraid to swallow for fear that he would hear my gulps echo throughout the theater and be disturbed. He held my hand and I almost peed. Then his thumb began molesting my thumb and it was the single most erotic experience of my life so far. I stared straight ahead in a panic-induced coma. I do not recall much after that until he was driving me home. My mouth was bone dry and I was super worried that the post date kiss was going to be distressing experience if I did not get some water. I was just about to jump out and get a drink from the hose, when he said he had to go. No kiss. I was crushed.
Our romantic relationship did not progress any further than the dry humping of our thumbs, so one day I asked him why he did not like me “like that”. He said it was because I was weird. Damn. We became good friends instead and he still played a big part in my sexual awakening. We spent pretty much every day after school together. Often we would be alone at his house and he was pretty much always topless and sometimes just in his underwear. He was a bit of an exhibitionist, but I did not mind. One time he gave me a full back massage and I had a girl-boner for a week.
One night a bunch of us decided to go ice blocking. This is when you get some blocks of ice and use it to slide down grassy hills. We all went to the golf course and in the darkness we hooted and hollered as we sledded the best we could down the hill with our butts on the ice. Once you scooted down to the bottom, you grabbed the ice and walked it back up the hill for the next person. Levi & I had just slid all the way down our respective blocks when we turned around to walk back up the hill, we saw our friends scatter in the darkness of the woods. We wondered what the fuck they were doing and then we saw the flashlight. Busted. Someone saw us going in to the golf course and thought our bags of ice was really beer, so they narked us out. Since Ice blocking was not a crime, and since I was 18 at the time, I was told to go straight home. Since Levi was still under age, the cops escorted him home in their squad car. Luckily his Dad was not home, so the cops just dropped him off and Levi hightailed it back to my place where we had a good laugh and cursed our friends who ditched us to save their hides.
He was my best friend and I always loved spending time with him whenever I could. Our lives progressed after high school, but we remained close.
Then something happened. We were both living in the bay area at one point as I went to school in San Francisco and he attended the university of California at Berkeley to study Physics. One day he was riding his bike home from the campus, when he was attacked. He was struck in the back of the head and then did not remember anything after that until he woke up 15 blocks away in a bloody heap. They took his bike and they kicked him in the face, bashing in his teeth. Whether from the trauma of such a violent attack and almost being killed or from the severe injury to his head, Levi was never the same.
The difference was mainly subtle. He became more distant and flakier. He eventually got his degree in Physics, but after he graduated he decided to pursue modern dance. I saw less and less of him, but we still kept in some form of contact, even after I moved to Seattle.
His dance troop came to Seattle in 2000 and I got to see him perform the Velveteen Rabbit and then went to lunch with him & his troop. There was a weird blond girl there who was keeping close tabs on us. It turned out to be someone he was having a secret relationship with, because she was married. Eventually her divorce became final and they became public about seeing each other. Rumors began to surface about her extreme jealousy and dependence on Levi.
We had a reunion with just our group of friends from High School in 2001 where we rented a house off the coast. I was excited about seeing everyone and when I got into town, I gave Levi a call. He thought it was the weekend following and I was super annoyed because only about 1000 email correspondences about the reunion were sent out to our group of friends. He said he stopped reading them, because there were too many. He then said he thought he & his girlfriend could make it out there, but when I told him we were not really including significant others, I knew he would not show.
One year later my Mom died. I received a very nice condolence email from Levi saying that he would be in Washington at the end of the month visiting his Dad who had been living in Olympia and would like to come up to Seattle to see me. He was going to pick up his girlfriend at the airport on Sunday night, but wanted to spend the day with me beforehand. This was also the only day I would have to myself before going back to work and lord I needed it. I had been consumed with the grief of my father and the worry that he would not survive such a loss. Every day I stayed home with my Dad was enormously difficult and I desperately needed some time for myself once I got back to Seattle and it looked like this one day that Levi would be able to visit was it. I decided it might be better for me to be with a friend than alone and it would be good to see him, so I reluctantly acquiesced.
The last thing I wanted to do was to get out of bed, much less shower and get dressed, but I did in preparation for his visit. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I was trapped in my house as I waited for Levi to show up. I could not get back in bed, as he could arrive any second. I did not have his number and he did not call me, so the only thing I could do was wait for four and a half hours, nervously looking out the window every five fucking seconds, until he finally showed up.
His excuse was that his girlfriend asked him to wait at his Dad’s house for her call during the day. Why he could not call me to tell me of his delay, I do not know. Even after he spoke to her and was ready to start the one-hour drive to my house, he failed to call and let me know he was running so late. I was mad, but happy to see him and since now we only had about an hour before he needed to leave to go get her, I said we better go and get dinner. He said he could not go get food, because his girlfriend and changed her flight to an earlier one and that he needed to leave in about 15 minutes. “What the mother fucking hell?!?!” I said. “Well, at least I made it here at all”, he said.
That was the last time we spoke, 2 ½ years ago.
About a year later, I did receive an apology email. I did not respond. Honestly, I have forgiven him for being a total fuckwad when I was suffering so much to begin with. I will always care to know what happens to him, but I do not need someone who behaves like that in my life and I just don’t like him anymore.