Cycling

Jeremy tossed his phone in my face and I had to practically do a fucking acrobat trick to catch it as he told me to read his last received text:

“u r an asshole”

Wow. Such beautiful prose. I laughed a little, mostly out of politeness, and asked why Lisa would even say that. Jeremy looked at me like I was a little kid or something.

Like sometimes Jeremy is a cool guy. He’s fun and self-confident and as far as a randomly assigned roommate goes, I guess I could have done worse. But sometimes I had to agree with Lisa’s text: he was a condescending asshole.

It took me a sec to get what the point of Lisa’s text was. Jeremy had snuck up behind her on the beach and pulled down her top, exposing her to everybody there. Strangers, friends, little kids. She ducked into the water but we all saw her boobs anyway. Kind of a douche move, but I really don’t want to interfere with their business. If they want to have their whole love-hate weird relationship with each other, whatever. But I had to support Jeremy because, technically, he was now my best friend.

When my face showed my realization he laughed like an animal and punched me in the arm. “Fuckin’ fag, Todd. Took you long enough. You guys need to learn how to take a joke.”

I don’t want to have to deal with roommate relocation kinda shit. That just takes a long time and is a lot of trouble and honestly I don’t want to be the wuss who can’t deal with some teasing. I just had to endure it, you know? Take his shit and try and defend Lisa when she wasn’t there and unfortunately hear him brag about his dick and how everybody wanted it.

For such a homophobic guy, Jeremy sure did like talking about gay shit.

My friend Adam got us some Labatt Blues the last time he was in Canada for beer, so me and Jeremy were throwing those back one after the other in celebration of our first week of classes being over. Anyway I drank enough that I really had to pee, so I left the room to go down to the bathroom at the end of the hall.

That’s the sucky thing about living in cheap freshmen dorms. You don’t get individual bathrooms so you always have to use the public one. That means you gotta put on pants and not forget your key and shit. When you shower, you gotta make sure you’re fast enough that every other guy in the hallway isn’t pissed off at you, so you have to be quick. You can’t just stand there watching the hot water flow off of you and down the drain.

This was the first time I got drunk since high school. It was weird. We weren’t at a party or anything. Jeremy and I were just hanging out. And drinking. Because what else were we supposed to do?

I knew that because I went to pee I’d have to go again. Floodgate theory. Alcohol goes through the system really quickly and once you’ve taken down that barrier, your urethra is a faucet. I’d probably be getting up a few times to piss between now and when I went to sleep.

It was all part of the water cycle. What was it that the professor was saying in Euro Civ? Europe was different from Asia because they made alcohol. In order to purify the water, it had to be fermented. In Asia they boiled it to make tea and stuff. So even today, Asians and Native Americans and shit had lower tolerance. They could get drunk a lot quicker than white guys. Was that a good thing? It was probably good. Less money spent on Canadian beer.

Rain fell on the Earth and then humans or dinosaurs or whoever was alive drank it and then if they didn’t die they’d piss it out. That would evaporate and the piss would become cloud water and the whole thing would go about again. Drink more, piss more, evaporate more. We live next to giant lakes. Water is hard to forget about.

I tried to imagine the urinal was snow and I could piss my name in it, but the stream ran out after T-O-D and I had to leave it. Not like it was really visible. I was just drunk on imagination. Winter would come before we knew it and from what I’d heard, our campus always got a lot of snow.

Flush.

There goes the water cycle down the drain. God speed, urine, to Lake Michigan.

I washed my hands and headed back to the room. Jeremy and I drank some more and played some video games.

I looked down at my phone and thought of Lisa’s text. I had to do something to appeal to Jeremy’s sense of humor, so I tapped a couple of keys and displayed a giant symbol. “Dude, why did she have to write out ‘asshole’? Doesn’t it look like an asterisk?”

And it does. An asterisk looks like a starfish and a starfish looks like an asshole. I figured some crude humor was good late at night but apparently Jeremy was past the laugh-at-everything stage of drunk and he’d moved to the takes-ten-minutes-to-get-a-joke stage, so it took him way too long to figure out what was on my phone. Whatever. I curled up and took a nap because fuck it, it was late and I was drunk.

                                                    ∗

I wake up and I have to pee again. Jeremy is gone. I figure maybe I’ll see him in the hall, running the same errand as I was. Beer go in. Pee go out. But he wasn’t there. I got a cup of water so that my hangover wouldn’t be so bad, but before I’d even finished drinking it I was passed out on my bed. Again.

I woke up to a text from Lisa. Not expecting that. I mean, yeah, we had each other’s numbers but it wasn’t like we were close at all. I figured she and Jeremy kind of had a thing going on.

It was a picture message. “todd i think u should see this,” it read. There was some blurry picture of the ravine beneath the bridge. Which didn’t mean anything to me. I really didn’t want to get up but every second in bed had me wondering what Lisa meant. So I got up and took the short walk to the bridge to see what was up.

It was my bike.

The sun was barely up and the twisted blue wreckage of my bike was glinting in the early morning. Thrown off the bridge by some mad prankster. I shielded my eyes from that goddamn light because yeah, I had a headache from last night. My lock was even on the bike. There was only one person who could get at my bike without breaking the lock, and he just happened to be a condescending asshole.

I headed back, not to my room, but to the housing office. I was done. Jeremy was done. I was moving on. I graduated the first week of college and living with an asshole like him. Time for my next stage.

All uphill from here.

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