Serendipity and the eleventh hour bus
When I need a friend
The Horizon Trilogy — Part 2
They knew it was too late to catch the trip home. Somehow it is just how it goes. There is mercy and understanding everytime the burden feels like an ocean in a teardrop. Otto has never been the type to shed a single tear, and yet both could see the shining light in their eyes as tears would try so hard to form.
“I want her to suffer as much or even more than I am now.”, he said, so brave and unapologetic. Of course he was talking about emotional suffering and would never wish her any physical harm in any way. Still, they knew it. It felt like the end of the begining, and that’s as rare as a commet crossing the night sky at plain sight. Lightning strikes twice, sometimes. And they knew they could never recognized a star, constellation or planet in the dark night sky.
“I always know when it’s time.”, Otto joked about it, handing Taren his own cigarette. That’s just the way they did stuff. Otto would light a cigarette. Taren would take any opportunity to use the “You smoke, dude.” meme on him. Otto would wait for the right moment to offer and they would share it, usually by the mark of several hours of conversation, whenever they hit the striking note of sorrow and vulnerability. Vulnerability is a risky choice for some with much to hide. Taren never seems reluctant when the time comes. That seems to be a recurring theme for them. After the infamous baptism, they shared drinks and cigarettes on the first night, keeping the cigarette as a tradition, every single time. Sharing smoke. The orange light bathing their faces as that orange color tinged the paper on that paint Otto called “the Blade Runner” at the watercolor exposition. The big expo room all empty except for some twenty paintings in the wall, some small, some gigantic, one looking like two dinossaurs at a certain distance. They could smell the same, they would never notice.
Serendipity. Otto would use this word a lot after the first time he read Taren say it in a text message. It meant a fortunate stroke of events. Luck. He was lucky, he felt fortunate. He could not believe how lucky he was to have found such a strong feeling. Life felt like it had a purpose. And you can really use serendipity. Taren decided he needed someone and Otto decided to stay for him, so why not? After all this time they would finally talk about the appartment issue. They could not do this together yet, Otto needed to try it for himself, but damn, wasn’t Taren sending all good vibrations into the universe so Otto would find it soon, that way they could go out in a time young people do instead of seven oclock straight from work cause of distance and bus hours. Otto could not go back home, apparently. I mean, he would, but that meant spending forty-five bucks on a Uber trip, which meant three less movies watched at the theater that month and that was unnacceptable. His father, Otto’s, had already agreeed to help financially, maybe buying him a bed if it would be necessary. He did not know about that. That would clearly depend on a lot more serendipity to happen in the right way at the right pace. Otto was almost finding a place, maybe a week or two more and they would be able to meet at nine or ten and stay out untill they felt appropriate.
But what about coffee breaks? They were now famous at the office for the ten minute coffee break they would take together. Otto would stop working by noon thirty, the same time Taren would start. Otto would then have lunch and wait around, talking to every random single one till two oclock, when Taren would come out and they would talk lively at the kitchen, a coffee mug in hands, before deciding if that night was the best one to go out. They never really had a plan, but at least went out to see the two movies they set out for that weekend, and what a blast. Then Otto wrote a very strange review for the second film, and for a moment there it felt like he did not even seen it. As Otto put it, if Bogdanovich had directed this it wouldn’t be that much devastating and a lot more fun. But then, what would the aftermath look like? He cried several times, specially during the monologue on the second act. They smoked what looked like four cigarettes in such a small amount of time and the way the main character would just keep holding them was inspiring. Otto just wish he could yell to the protagonist that he was suffering for things self imposed, in such a strong way he would rather forget the goodness he lived through those three years, but he felt he would be extremely hypocritical and couldn’t honestly say he was not doing the same. But then he would also add about how much the protagonist could count on him to help and to listen as much as he needs. Of course, the first act cracked some good jokes but by the end it was heartwarming as those beautifully hand drawing eyes would pop into the screen as a reminder of all the danger they’ve been through but also as a powerful milestone of how far they’ve come. This felt as vulnerable and real as life itself and they honestly couldn’t wait for the sequel. And this is why it felt like a completely different film. I mean, those weren’t just funny movies, they were hilarious, for sure. And they knew that a friendship could not be built upon the rock of movie going experiences alone, but aren’t they there yet, at least at a place they can look back and understand how much of this actually matter the most for them.
So yeah, they tried. And they did it, that was something to be quite happy about. They trusted each other, they could be vulnerable enough to make the other tear up and hide the urge to actually do it. Comaupence. Every time they would say good bye they never actually did it. It was always something like “see you tomorrow” or “let me know”, this one meant “let me know you’ve arrived”. They could’ve done better, but believed quite rightfully, they were doing just fine.
So when the therapist asked Otto how he felt about thinking of a friendship to become romantic, he was very confident to answer the way he did. “That would be the dream, but not him” — he menat Taren. He had a reason for that. He believed every romantic relationship is doomed to end at some point. And yes, what is two months to wish something would last forever and to even affirm that as a possibility? But he could never put what they had on the line. He would have to learn to read the exchanges in the coffee shop. Is that guy actually looking at him like someone that he could try to spend a few years together before they grew to hate, and yet, respect each other? How he would remember this kinda thing? That was something Taren had quite the expertise. He was trying to transfer his responsability for rememberance to the drawings he was failing to do. Every single week he would have to convince himself to keep going. He would even use Taren’s terrible, yet effective, memory saying “Hermes landed on Horizon and hurt his finger”. That was Otto’s way to remember to put pause on his systems and register every time he would go out to the bathroom, to smoke or to eat. Taren would use to remind himself why he decided to draw this in the first place. Serendipity alone could not do it. He needed a way to better carry his burden. That is exactly how Otto felt everytime they would smoke together. Like every grasp of smoke and every blow would have the weigh of their hearts on them to also be shared and carried together. So delightful.
Whatever it is they had, it was too great to not believe. The first time they did pot together there was a bunch of other people, but they did not felt the same way as they did. Otto sat down on a bench, Taren talked about how he felt about every first thing they were doing for the very first time but also that he was doing for the first time since his break up, and doing it with that new “it boy”, like Otto called himself as a terrible referenced joke. And yet together, they were just trying too hard to let go of their past and into the future. In hindsight, they already have walked a ton. You could see it if you try. And that is why he lost his bus, the trip home. Otto was yet to find home as a literal space to be, but somehow, both Otto and Taren had found home on the streets they would walk and talk like an Aaron Sorkin kinda script. He had a trip to make, and made it twice as long for losing the eleventh hour bus, and yet, Otto was just feeling too good to bother. And that’s what matters, Taren thought. That’s all that mattered.