My friendship with Hayley grew stronger as my friendship with Jason began to fade. It was exactly how it was that year when we both turned sixteen: she’d call me in the middle of the night and we’d tell each other everything. It was love, but it wasn’t the love you’re thinking about.
“What are you doing here?” She asked me over the phone. “Isn’t Jason sick of you yet?”
“I don’t know,” was all I could say.
“I’m staring at the ceiling.”
“I’m not sure if my boyfriend is the right one for me.”
“You just told me that he was. Then before that you said he wasn’t. Then before that you said he was.”
She giggled. “I know I know, I’m a walking contradiction.” She remained silent for a while, until finally adding: “He yells sometimes.”
“We all do.”
“I don’t know. Whatever. Hey, you know what? I’m picking you up.”
“It’s three in the morning.”
“Don’t be so old.”
“What do I tell Jason?” I asked her.
“I’m taking with him with us.”
“He and I haven’t really been talking,” I said.
“Why the fuck not?”
“He’s just pissing me off. Just his face. It just fucking pisses me off.”
“Don’t be so old.”
She came over and we both woke Jason up. Jason glared at me, but his face softened when he saw Hayley. We hopped in her car and headed for the beach, and by the time we got there the sun was peering out of a mess of clouds. The wind was strong, and the universe was slowly falling apart. Hayley and Jason ran around the sand, and I stood there and watched the sea and tried to look dramatic about it all.
Although we grew up with each other, Hayley and I only really started talking to each other when we were sixteen. She’d just broken up with Jason, and she called me in the middle of the night and said, “I hate music” and I drove over and we watched porn downloaded from Kazaa and smoked her dad’s cigarettes. We spoke about garbage every day and Jason hated me for that (and I kind of liked that he hated me for that), and she became my best friend until I moved to Brisbane.
I looked outside Hayley’s car window on the way home as Lessons by SOHN blared over her sound system and asked myself: What the hell am I doing here? I thought about Brisbane and the people in it, and I thought about where I was now and the people in it and I was afraid all of a sudden, and I could come up with no answer.