I have, at this point, known Roy for a long time.
In 2006, when I was 18, I would look out the window of my sad girl dorm room onto the parking lot below, which often featured a tall, strikingly blonde, fancily-dressed German boy riding his bike in circles. This boy was Roy. Through a complicated series of related trickery, I weaseled my way into his friendship and we’ve been honorary siblings ever since. We also seem to have a very with-or-without-you kind of relationship– we need each other, yet disgust one another so greatly it can scarcely be believed. That said, we seem to rely on one another in a way that may be unhealthy but is probably fine.
In this vein, we have a long history of summers together. In 2008, we lived in a Civil War-era ivy covered mansion in central Pennsylvania where we drank gin & tonics on the large screened-in porch while the bats flew past each night. The summer of 2009 we spent apart– Roy in Alaska, me coming back from England and moving straight to Brooklyn. However, without discussing it, without having talked in weeks, we both returned to Huntingdon on the same day in the same hour and Roy moved into my living room for two weeks before securing yet another Huntingdonian mansion. The following summer, 2010, I once again moved in with Roy to avoid an unpleasant future– this time, we lived in a lofty-ceilinged airless 3BR apartment with two windows and a rickety fire escape and children who cried through the walls. (Yes, everyone, this is the famed Crack Loft.) Jake and I moved from Huntingdon (with some measure of tears on my part) in the middle of the summer of 2011, and Roy was the last person I saw. I was standing in our apartment, bare even of boxes, staring at the clean walls and the clean floors listening to the train and waiting for our last hour to be over so I could pull it off, like a bad band-aid when Roy burst in, all sunburnt and aglow with his nearby farm life. Once again, he was unaware of our plans for departure– he just seemed to know, and he took me to Boxer’s for lunch and we commiserated over a salmon plate.
Now it is 2012, and outside the city sky is hazy, hazy, and we’ve been sweating for days. Once again, I am left alone and I have Roy. When we are together, biking through Brooklyn, Roy with his arms crossed jauntily, me pedaling backwards, the both of us in sunglasses and backpacks, it is the only time I feel a sense of comfort, a feeling of our old lives. Blasting through rain streets in darkness, I take stock of the things that are the same: there is a river, there are streetlights, there is the sky, there are trees, there are sidewalks, there is the sound of the train. It is summer, and once again Roy and I are sharing big bowls of cold noodles, sweating in small rooms against the drone of a fan, talking about plants and about writing, finding dark places to drink beer.
It is a comfort.
Roy is also Olive’s godfather, don’t forget.