“Forging Forward”

“I don’t know how to let her go,” I said.

“That’s why getting with your best friend is a terrible idea,” he said.

“But all the movies told me that’s what I’m supposed to want,” I said.

He laughed.

“Getting into a serious relationship with your best friend – hell, just a good friend – is like making the leap from ‘recreational drug use’ to ‘drug addict.’ It seems like a simple extension of a pre-existing condition, but it’s not. It’s a complete lifestyle change,” he said.

“Yes, ‘women: not even once,'” I said.

“No – really – think about it: in both situations, once you cross that line, there’s no going back, you can never go back to the less intense version. If you break up, you’re not going back to being great friends, and if you start banging lines of coke every day, you’re not going to pull it back to weekends and dinner parties only,” he said.

“Maybe this theory is something you should have broached with me before I made my move on Samantha,” I said.

“Would it have stopped you?” he asked.

“No, probably not,” I said.

“Well, then,” he said.

“Blah,” I said.

“So what? Is it really over?” he asked.

“Yeah, I went over to pick up the last of my stuff last week,” I said.

“So that’s that, then?” he asked.

“Well, I haven’t made it Facebook official, if that’s what you mean,” I said.

He scoffed.

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I was getting at,” he said.

“For real, though, I think this is it this time,” I said.

“Why is it different this time, because she kicked you out?” he asked.

“No, because I think there’s someone else in the picture,” I said.

“She cheated on you?” he asked.

“No, I don’t think so. She swears she didn’t,” I said.

“You believe her?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I asked her and she said ‘no,’ but admitted the other guy was part of the reason she was ending it,” I said.

“So what? So she could have a clear conscience?” he asked.

“Something like that, I suppose,” I said.

“So fuck it, then,” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“What?” he said.

“I’ve been banging lines of coke every day for four years. Going cold-fucking turkey isn’t going to be a piece of cake or duck soup or a can of corn,” I said.

“Granted, but what other choice do you have?” he asked.

“None. But still,” I said.

“I know,” he said.

I sighed.

“Like I said, I don’t know how to let her go,” I said.

“That’s not up to you,” he said.

“Well, yeah, obviously, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about anything. All my shit’s in boxes in Greg’s house – I’m staying with him for a while – and work is whatever, but at the end of the day, I have to consciously remind myself to drive to Greg’s instead of Samantha’s and it’s miserable. Then I get to Greg’s and I see boxes of shit in his garage and it’s miserable. Then I shower and lie on a couch in his side living room and it’s fucking miserable,” I said.

“Yeah, I can see how that might suck,” he said.

“I sucks so bad,” I said.

“Are you in that I’m-never-going-to-find-another-lover-sweeter-than-her phase right now?” he asked.

“Kind of,” I said.

“Kind of?” he asked.

“Yeah, but it’s a more specific version of that, though,” I said.

“In what way?” he asked.

“I mean, I’m pretty devastated right now, but it’s not like I can’t see myself ever being in love again or in another relationship again or whatever. It’s more like because of how Sam and I were friends for such a long time before we ever got together, I don’t think I could ever have that kind of history with anyone else,” I said.

“Of course, that ‘growing up together’ stuff is irreplaceable,” he said.

“Yeah, that’s the hard part. I don’t know how to let all of that stuff go,” I said.

“I know. That’s natural,” he said.

He paused.

“But I think you’re over-emphasizing her,” he said.

“What? How could I over-emphasize her? What the hell else is there?” I asked.

“You’re not-  Look, you still love Forging Forward, right?” he asked.

“What?” I said.

“Do you still like Forging Forward?” he asked.

“Yeah, they’re my favorite band. I’m going to love them forever,” I said.

“Which of their albums are your two favorite?” he asked.

“What the hell does this have to do with anything?” I asked.

“Your two favorite albums,” he said.

Made Men and Buy My Silence,” I said.

“What about the last two? Apex-Nadir-Apex and Mega-Human Error?” he asked.

Meta-Human Error- they were alright. So what?” I said.

“No matter what Forging Forward does for the rest of eternity, Made Men and Buy My Silence are always going to be your favorite albums,” he said.

“Yeah, probably,” I said.

“But why is that? Doesn’t it have more to do with when your heard the albums than what’s actually on them?” he said.

“Yeah, sure, I guess it’s possible. Those two albums came out my senior year of high school and then my junior year of college,” I said.

I laughed.

“I don’t even own Meta-Human Error. It sucked,” I said.

“Yeah, so you’re right to be worried about losing all of that history, because it is irreplicable, but not for the reasons you think,” he said.

“Why? Because I’ll never be a kid again?” I said.

“Pretty much,” he said.

“That’s probably true, but it doesn’t make this suck any less,” I said.

“Look, I love Sam – she’s great – but she’s always going to be your romantic version of  Made Men. You don’t really like Forging Forward as it currently exists, you like Forging Forward circa. 2001,” he said.

“I don’t know about-” I said.

“Okay, look, forget the metaphor. Suppose this is it and you guys never get back together. Right now, you look back on those seven years and think ‘I will never have this kind of relationship again,’ but that’s because it only takes 5 minutes to look back on seven years, but it’s impossible to see any kind of future history that hasn’t happened,” he said.

“So you’re saying that in my head, no one will ever compare with Sam because such a comparison is impossible?” I said.

“But not because of her, specifically,” he said.

“But because she was the one at that specific place and time? And the way humans appreciate space and time?” I asked.

“Yes. Youth and hindsight,” he said.

“I see what you’re saying,” I said.

“But?” he asked.

“But I love her right now,” I said.

“And in some ways, you might always,” he said.

I nodded my head.


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