On Saturday, I went to my friend’s house and watched him put chemicals into his body.
“I’ve never done this before,” he told me. “You have to take care of me.”
“I’m wearing my dirty underwear inside out.” I told him. “I had pierogies for breakfast and cold cuts for lunch and I haven’t even had dinner. Can we go get dinner?”
“There’s food in the fridge,” he said.
“I can’t take care of you,” I said.
“All you have to do is hold my hand,” he told me. “I want this to be fun for both of us.”
“This isn’t going to be fun for me,” I told him. “I’m going to go home.”
“You can’t go home,” he said.
“I took all this thinking you’d take care of me,” he said.
“If I die it’ll be your fault,” he said.
“You are a leech,” I said. “Some friends are leeches and some friends are feet and I’m not going to be either. I’m going to be a potato chip.”
“Oh man,” he said.
“I can’t even handle that,” he said.
I told him about the river at my cabin and how there are leeches that stick to your feet and you have to get them off using the salt from potato chips.
“I’m going to go,” I said.
“You might regret it,” he said.
“I’ll live with the guilt,” I said.
I left his apartment and walked to the end of his street. There was a fiddler there busking. She was playing such nice music, that I wanted to stay there and watch her. I wanted to stay there forever. It was a warm night and the sun had just set and the pavement under my feet felt warm. I thought this is probably what heaven is like, the fat dog peeing into the bushes and everything, but I knew that if my friend actually died I probably would regret it.
When I got back to the apartment, my friend was sitting on the couch with his eyes closed. I thought he had actually died.
He opened his eyes when he heard me close the door.
“I thought you were dead,” I said.
“So did I,” he said.
“What was it like?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Do you need me to hold your hand?”
“Maybe for a bit,” he said.
And that’s how I spent the night. Holding hands with my friend and watching Saturday Night Live.
“I just died again,” my friend kept saying. “I just died and came back to life.”