Fuck BuddyBy: Scott Hildreth
With my face buried in my pillow, I cried quietly, hoping not to wake either of my parents. I never would have guessed girls in fourth grade could be so hateful.
A light tapping on my window startled me. I wiped my tears on the shoulder of my nightgown, pulled the wrinkles from the fabric, and walked to the window. After pulling the curtains to the side and peering through the glass, his smiling face caused me to do the same.
“Open the window,” he whispered.
I turned the lock, pushed against the frame carefully, and stepped to the side.
He grinned and pressed his finger to his lips. “Shhh.”
“Okay,” I whispered.
“Bad day, huh?” he said as he climbed in the window.
I chewed against my bottom lip, embarrassed for the tears I continued to shed. “Yeah.”
“Girls are stupid.” He brushed his long blonde hair away from his eyes. “Except for you.”
“Boys are stupid, too.”
“Are you still sad?” he asked.
As we both stood at the side of the bed, he held out his hand.
I took his hand in mine and squeezed tightly. Together, we fell onto the bed, hand-in-hand. He was different than the other boys. He was different than everybody. We were best friends, and one day I hoped he would ask me to be his girlfriend.
We silently laid on our backs holding hands for some time. I stared up at the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling until I gathered the courage to speak. When I finally developed the nerve, I turned my head to the side. He did the same.
“Do you want to be my boyfriend?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Not yet.”
I rolled my head to the side and gazed up at the ceiling, feeling foolish for having asked.
“But I’ll be your best friend forever,” he said.
“Pinky promise?” I asked.
He extended his pinkie.
I did the same.
And we swore.
Best friends for life.
“Since when do you not have yogurt in here?” he asked.
I tossed the empty cottage cheese container into the trash and glanced over my shoulder. “Since you ate the last of it yesterday. I’ll get some more when I go to the store.”
Standing barefoot with his head shoved so deep into the refrigerator it was well out of view, Luke looked the way he did on any other day. Dressed in board shorts and an old tee shirt, at first glance he resembled most of the other surfers in southern California. His skin was deep bronze in color and he had the muscular structure of an athlete. With his handsome looks and a tasteful sleeve of tattoos down to one wrist, he could have had a career as a model if he chose to. Instead, he spent his time surfing and building the occasional custom surfboard for whoever he deemed worthy of his time and effort.
“I wasn’t here yesterday.” He cleared his throat and pushed the refrigerator door closed. “And if I would have taken the last one I would have said something.”
As he turned around, his hair fell into his face. Long and brown with occasional strands of dirty blonde from exposure to the sun, it was one of his many appealing features, but arguably not his most attractive. He brushed it away from his eyes as he walked past me and toward the wire basket of fruit sitting on the kitchen counter.
I tried to remember when he ate the last cup of yogurt. “Those aren’t oranges, they’re Cara Cara’s, the pink ones.”
“Even better,” he responded. “I love these things.”
My coffee in one hand, and my bowl of cottage cheese in the other, I grinned. “Me too.”
He tossed his head toward the countertop. “You’re out of oranges, Liv.”
With my mind still slightly foggy from my previous night’s drunken escapade, I stood and stared at him, slightly jealous of his late winter tan. I envied the color of his skin, but realized when we were much younger that there was nothing I could do to ever become as dark as he was. With a mother who was half-Japanese and half-Chilean, and a southern California native for a father, he and his three siblings were adorned with an odd mixture of skin tones and hair colors. One of his sisters had light reddish-brown hair and the other a much lighter dirty-blonde, but both were fair skinned. His younger brother’s hair was brown, and he had a very dark complexion similar to Luke’s.
“See how I did that?” he asked.
“What? Grabbed the oranges?”
“No, told you I was eating the last one. I’m polite like that.”
I cocked my head to the side and watched him pick at the peel of the orange with his thumb as he walked past me and toward the living room.
Grinning at my memory of the Mission Beach Surf Shop tee shirt he was wearing, I followed him into the living room. Several years prior, we had spent a day at the beach – he surfed and I baked in the sun – and when it was time to go, his shirt was nowhere to be found. The restaurant on the boardwalk wouldn’t let him in without one, so we went to the adjacent surf shop to buy one. Initially we argued about the color of the shirt – he claimed it was a shade of gray, and I swore it was light pink. We both loved how the shirt fit him, so he bought it regardless. The comments that followed further confirmed his colorblindness, but everyone that knew him was fully aware of his deficiency when it came to identifying colors.