The thing that made Henry angry about my inaugural lesbian dalliance wasn’t the fact that Christina and I, you know, DIDSTUFF (I’m still awkward as an eighth grader when it comes to this girlie shit, but if it was a dude I was writing about, I’d have no qualms telling you all about that), but that she and I literally slept together. I suppose if she was some Mexican whore that I discarded by the train tracks upon conquering, he would have felt better about it. But no, she and I had slept together in her bed and Papa Henry was a little jerked off by that. Oh, and also he maybe had a slight issue with the fact that she went and got a tattoo to commemorate our weird friendship.
So it was a little awkward and tense when she came here to Pittsburgh a few weeks later.
She arrived early on a Friday morning in April. It was still dark when I picked her up from the Greyhound station after dropping Henry off at work. He had spent the entire car ride expressing his malcontent for the upcoming weekend, but I ignored him because I’m selfish and spending time with Christina made me happy.
Later that afternoon, Henry called, bitching that I never came to pick him up from work. “I’ve been trying to call you all fucking day,” he said angrily. “But the phone has been busy!” This was back when we still had a landline, and the phone was definitely hung up all day. In fact, the later it became in the day, the more worried I became. I kept checking the phone, wondering why Henry hadn’t called yet.
Of course, in Henry’s mind, this meant that I had purposely left the phone off the hook so Christina and I could have sex all over the house, probably with 17 wigged strangers and a horse.
He didn’t believe me, probably still doesn’t, but she and I honest to god watched music videos on On Demand all day, and I even read aloud from my vacation journals while we drank coffee outside on my sidewalk. Seriously, we didn’t need to be running around with studded strap-ons to be entertained by each other. It wasn’t about that for us, though I’m sure Henry imagined it was all “Cue porn soundtrack!” every time we were alone. But no, there was definitely innocence there between us. We were just two little girls, giggling a lot, being stupid.
We always kept it platonic when she’d visit. I’d have felt weird DOINGSTUFF with her in my house, and didn’t want Henry to have to feel weird about it too. I mean, somewhere inside of me, there actually is a little tiny atom-sized pocket of respect for the man.
I can’t imagine how annoying it must have been for Henry though. She and I had a language that consisted solely of strangulated giggles, sighs, and choking motions from laughter gone wild. Everything was an inside joke, a knowing glance, a secret smirk.
In fact, he and I just spoke about this and he said, “Of course I wasn’t happy that weekend; I don’t trust you.” I suggested he should just leave that as a comment on this entry, but he mumbled, “No. I don’t want any involvement in this. I’ve already had enough of it.” That’s real talk, straight from Henry’s mouth.
Henry had to work that Saturday, and we arranged for me to pick him up when I was done with my English Comp class at Pitt that afternoon. Christina decided she didn’t want to wait at my house, so she hung around on campus while I was sitting through tedious discussions of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” I had explicitly told her what time to meet back outside my classroom, but when class got out, she was nowhere to be found. I roamed around the Cathedral of Learning for nearly an hour looking for her, before giving up and sitting on a bench outside of my classroom. It turned out the idiot forgot to set her watch ahead and thought she had way more time than she actually did.
So once again, I was obscenely late picking up Henry from work and the wheels of adultery were surely spinning wildly in his head. No Henry, we weren’t having sex with mop handles in the campus supply closet, I promise.
This was probably the Universe’s way of saying, “Hey, kid. The jig is up. You can’t handle this new lifestyle, so please hand over your dual citizenship to Sexkatchewan and have yourself a nice heterosexual day.”
In spite of the tension and lack of trust on Henry’s end, it was still one of the most gut-bustingly hilarious weekends I had with her, or anyone. Everything was always funny when she was around. Everything. I miss laughing until I’m nearly puking. I miss finding meaning in a blue marble and sharing a root beer float. I miss being a part of something that must have appeared so strange and unusual to anyone attempting to figure us out; it must have been like looking through fun house mirrors.
It’s important for me to remember these brief moments in time, because I don’t want to be full of hatred for her, and sometimes as I’m writing these stories, I feel that I’m letting my anger take over, that I’m starting to be biased based on the recent falling out. There were so many beautiful memories from back then, when she was still Christina and I was still Erin and we were strong enough to not let the words and actions of other people come between us. So to keep true to the story, I’m going to end this with something I wrote after she left that weekend, and if you can, imagine me telling it to you in a voice high-pitched and sped-up with giddy delirium, because that’s pretty much the tone I always used back then when she and I were together. It’s the tone I use when I’m so happy I could die.
Last week, when I asked Henry if he was excited that Christina was coming to hang out, he unfalteringly shook his head and said, “No, you guys act so middle school and weird when you’re together.” I was appalled and determined to show him that Christina and I were adults who acted in a very mature manner when in each others company.
Typically, when an out of state friend comes to visit, people like to show them around the city. Have a good time, see a show, be touristy, throw down a few dead prezzes for a hooker. Not me, though.
The weekend with Christina was spent watching quality TV, such as Charles and Camilla’s wedding, music videos on On Demand (the same ones repeatedly, much to Henry’s delight), the Eternal Word Television Network, and golf. I love golf now. And not just as a joke like before. I even joined Phil Mickelson’s fan club and within five minutes of getting my member confirmation email, I was already defending his name on his message board. Some idiot had the audacity to go in there and say that he heard Phil had sired an illegitimate child with a prostitute. Can you imagine? This was unacceptable, so I knew I had to take action. My reply was “STFU.” That’s right. Christina said she was uncertain if golf fans knew what that meant, but I’m confident that they’ll figure it out.
Unfortunately, when you pair us up, Henry’s correct in that we regress into two middle school girls and our giggling drives him right into the arms of Migraine. We all went out to eat Saturday night and he actually had the brass to grab my arm and admonish me for being immature and obnoxious. I know, I know – me, obnoxious? Henry’s got the wrong girl, obviously. Then he told me to stop fake laughing. Excuse me, but fake laughing? I engaged in no such thing. I was really just that out of control.
Sunday, we took a breather from watching bad television programming because it was getting completely ridiculous. I should have deduced this Saturday morning when I almost herniated a disk because some man reporting from Windsor Castle was wearing a tie with tiny blue dots on it. That’s not funny and I had no right to laugh. Except I did and then Christina fed off it and we couldn’t stop laughing and slapping each other and I nearly swallowed my tongue.
So, it was obvious on Sunday that we needed to get out of the house, plus Christina and I wanted to take our show on the road. Henry piled us into the car and we went to the Homewood Cemetery. I love going on Sundays because there’s always a bunch of Chinese people there and they like, have bonfires and stuff (although Henry maintains that they’re just burning incense).
We arrived and I was already bolting out of the car before it even came to a complete stop. Almost immediately, I unearthed a huge tree branch and started parading around with it. Christina decided that we should pretend like we were honoring the Pope, but that we needed a flag at the end to make it complete. We begged Henry to give us his bandanna but he held his ground. He was trying to be all firm and hard core, until we walked past a man with his little daughter near the pond. The man nodded at Henry, who demurely returned his sentiments with a feminine “Hi.” I think he blushed, too. So the next three minutes was spent carrying on about Henry’s new boyfriend, until I found a pile of leaves to trample over.
I left Henry and Christina for awhile because there was a path leading up a hill that was just begging for my feet to touch it. It felt empowering being so high above them on a parallel road. Henry was OK with me straying until I threw a huge rock down the hill at them and let loose my warrior cry. Henry snapped his head up to look at me and hissed, “Be quiet!” while pointing at the Chinese people who were honoring the dead.
Hanging back a bit, I let the two of them round a bend before I made my way stealthily back down the hill, stopping halfway to crouch behind a bush. Every so often, they would stop walking and look up the hill, scratching their heads when they couldn’t find me.
Christina told me later that she had mused out loud, “I bet she’s going to try and hide from us” and Henry, without so much as a glance over his shoulder, quickly informed her that, “She’s right over there.” How does he do it?
I knew I had been spotted so I ran the rest of the way down the hill and fell into place with them. I asked Henry how he knew I was hiding.
“How are you going to try to hide in a cemetery while you’re wearing a bright orange shirt?”
Lots of gravestone heckling ensued and we kept catching Henry trying to pick up his pace. He succeeded in losing us for awhile when we became sidetracked by the cemetery office. I was running around trying to find an unlocked door, despite Henry impatiently reminding me that it’s Sunday and there’s no one there. I had to find out for myself so I started to ring the doorbell while playing with cigarette butts in the big flower planter. I could hear Henry in the distance spouting off about how I shouldn’t touch cigarette butts because they’re dirty.
No one answered so Christina came with me around the back to search for another way in where we became sidetracked by big rusty gardening tools. I was enamored with one that looked like a sickle and she was appropriately fiddling with a hoe or something. We were going to have a sword fight until I noticed that civilians were watching us from the street. We threw down the tools and ran, which was when we realized that Henry had gained a great distance on us.
We knew that he was embittered with our childish antics, so we each procured a bunch of wilted Easter flowers that had been plucked and thrown carelessly from a grave. We presented him with the flowers and he swatted our offerings away! Ingrate.
On the way back to the car, we passed a tombstone that boasted Christina’s last name. I exclaimed in horror, “Oh my god, you’re dead!”
“So are you!” she countered, as she pointed to one further over that said, “McWhiney.” Oh, ok. I see. Henry thought this was incredibly hilarious until Christina pointed out one across the road and said, “Look, you’re here, too Henry! ‘Meanor’!”
Then we came home and watched the final round of the Masters and I gave myself a sore throat from cheering with too much zeal.
And when we returned from taking Christina to the bus station, the house was filled with silence. It was sad, but I bet my neighbors are thankful.
I tried to watch our favorite From First To Last video this morning, but it just wasn’t the same. I didn’t have anyone to punch and squeal with during our favorite parts. I miss her.