There was something so vague and unreal about sitting in the passenger seat of his van that I'm afraid I'll never be able to reconcile this disconnected feeling with reality. Maybe no one will ask me to. Not till I've come down, at least. I sink a little lower in my seat and gaze out the window. The night sky is crystal clear, the only thing in my immediate sight that isn't fuzzy. How can that be? Everything around me has become a distorted version of it's original shape. Everything but that amazing sky.
I hold up my hands in front of my face, awed by the length of my fingernails. When did they get so long? The light from the stereo turns them an odd greenish color, and I lose track of things as I stare at them. Then my companion decides the light is too bright, and situates his cap to cover it. I can no longer see my fingernails so clearly, and they lose their appeal.
My companion chuckles to himself, a low, merry sound that causes my stomach to do crazy flips inside me. I don't need a gymnast for a stomach. Besides, what is he laughing at? I think about asking, but my mouth fails to form the words. Instead, I tell him that it is only 33 days till my 25th birthday. He responds accordingly, and I find myself wishing (aloud) that I had discovered and tried certain things before I'd gotten this old, so I wouldn't be using this time to explore things I should have already explored in the process of growing up. Like my cousin said, I have the emotional maturity of a seventeen year old, and the desires of an 18 year old boy (cause that's about when they hit their sexual prime) in my 24 year old body. I don't look 24, though...it's just the unfortunate number of years that I have been around.
"Maybe you weren't meant to have these experiences till now," my companion says to me. That's a thought. Better late than never is another. But geez, why does it seem like I've wasted so much time, and have so little left to accomplish what I want to get done? I haven't been very productive at all. I put these thoughts into words, words which my companion seems to take into serious consideration. My mind begins to drift again.
"Knowing what you know now, though, if you had to make a choice about which lifestyle you would want, which would you pick?" he asks me. I blink the fuzziness away for the moment and ask him what he means.
"The straight, conservative, Christian sort of lifestyle, or the drugs and living as you see fit...if you had to choose, which would you pick?" he asks.
"I would try for a point in the middle," I reply, running my fingers along my arm, noting that my skin has gone numb everywhere except for where it touches something else.
"You can't, though," he says, "You have to choose between the two...which one would you choose as the wrong way to live?" My mind grasps at what he's asking.
"So, I have to decide that one is right and the other is wrong?" I ask, gingerly tugging on a strand of my hair, and looking over towards him. He nods.
"I can't do that," I say, in a semblence of horror, "I can't say that a certain lifestyle is wrong."
"Why?" he asks me, sinking a little lower into his seat.
"It's an unfair question. Both types of lifestyles have aspects that I consider right. Neither is completely wrong. Being straight doesn't mean that you're wrong, but neither does doing drugs. Besides, I don't think the drugs themself are the problem. I think it's what people will do for them, or on them. But if you look at it in that way, anything can be a drug. In either lifestyle. I know Christianity was my drug for about two years...and now I guess it's something else. I think people will always have a need in their life for something...and whatever they use to fill it can become a drug..." I trail off as I look out my window again, searching for some sort of answer in the stars. My throat is unbelievably dry, and swallowing has become quite uncomfortable.
"But that's not what you asked me, was it?" I say, trying to bring my mind back to the starting point of the question. He chuckles again and says that, no, it's not really.
"I'm sorry," I say, trying to put my thoughts back together, "I just sort of drifted off." He laughs this time, and turns to look at me.
"That's okay," he remarks, "I like listening to you talk about that." This assertion makes me feel a little better, and sends all sorts of questions through my brain. And then they swiftly scatter, to be picked back up and examined at a later point in time.
The conversation continues, touching briefly on love, music, concerts, friends, family, memories, and whether or not we could see children in our separate futures. I can't remember much of it now, but I know that it's the closest I've ever felt to him. The synchronicity of our minds that night was a more devastatingly awesome thing than anything else I'd ever experienced with him. Conversing with him is amazing sometimes, more so than with anyone else I've ever talked to. I think I could fall in love with him, just through our conversations. But that isn't permitted, not in my world or his.
I think I will always feel this strange connection with this person, though. He was the first to introduce me to this state of mind. He says he likes to see me giddy. After the rocky start we got off on, it's almost surprising that we can be alone together like this. I almost wish that certain things in the past had not happened, because then things might progress to a point that I could understand. Right now, everything about him is a puzzle. Does he really enjoy my company? Am I only kept around for those nights when he has nothing better to do? Does he like me better when I'm stoned than in any other circumstance? Why hasn't there been a repeat of that one hot summer night? Why do I want him so badly? Why have we been thrown together, at this point in time, and what is supposed to come of it?
I can't say much about how the rest of the night went. I eventually became sober enough to drive. We left the field we were in to go and get food. I drove us back to my house. As I prepared myself to walk down the hill that had almost thwarted me the last time I was in this state, he turned and told me that I was good company. And then he hugged me, something I'd been hoping for since the huge misunderstanding that caused both of us to retreat into our individual shells and avoid all physical contact with one another. To say I floated down the hill would be a very close variation of the truth. I gazed at the sky one more time, and then turned to watch his headlights disappear down the driveway. Then I went inside, still floating, hoping that maybe this was the turning point I had been waiting for.