The sun scorched my back. "Come on Noah, one more mile to go," I coached myself. It was unusually warm for November. The leaves that paved the trail crunched underneath my feet. "I swear this mix could sink the sun!" Jack's Mannequin screamed from my IPod into my headphones. "Buzz!" my phone vibrated in my pocket. "Beep," horns blared in the street aside me. The soundtrack to my morning jog.
My trail finally navigated me back into my off campus housing subdivision. I went through the backdoor of the three bedroom townhouse I shared with two other guys who arranged their course loads around their party schedules. I steered through the pizza boxes, beer bottles, textbooks, sweaty socks and Wii remotes upstairs to the master bedroom opened the door and entered serenity. My room was a stark contrast from the rest of the house. Clean. Neat. Orderly. I didn't have time to party like I wanted to. Medical school was kicking my butt. I crashed on my bed after taking my phone out of my pocket. Twelve missed alerts. Seriously? I bet at least six were from my mother. I hit the menu button. Surprise, surprise. Only two were from her. The other four were from the other two most important women in my life.
Kam's first text said, "Call me ASAP!" Followed by her more aggressive text, “Where the heck are you?" Kamryn was so passionate. She either loved it or hated it. Everything was serious even when it wasn't. I'm sure that this was another moment in which Kamryn was reacting then thinking instead of thinking and then reacting. I checked the time of the last text, two hours ago... she's fine by now, I'm sure. However as I convinced myself of that fact, my trust waivered when I read the next two alerts which were from Sophia that slightly mimicked Kamryn's. "Hey, Kam told Ethan. She's totally bummed. We should take her for pancakes or something." The next one read, "Did your phone get cut off or are you still asleep? Don't you have class?" I wanted to reply, "Don't you?" But I decided against my better judgment, put the phone on the nightstand and proceeded to undress to hop into the shower.
So Kamryn finally told Ethan. I shook my head. It's about dag on time. I was so over hearing how they would build him up to this elevated state as if he could do no wrong and then complain to me every time he hurt their feelings, made them cry, pout, curse. I contemplated, while I was in the shower, calling Ethan and asking him the less dramatic, simplified male version of what went down before I talked to either one of the Williams sisters. But Ethan and I had grown apart over the last couple of years. It annoyed me the way Kamryn would throw herself at him and he would dismiss her like a fly. He knew that Kam loved him, he allowed her to give of herself and he wouldn't reciprocate and that made me like him less. Kamryn was like my big sister and I totally felt he disrespected her, but how do you tell someone whom they should love?
I got dressed in my scrubs and decided to respond to Sophia first. If Kamryn would ever find out she would throw the whole "You-two-love-each-other-just-be-together" in my face. I decided it was worth the risk. "Is she okay?" I texted. Got to love modern technology. The era in which our most intimate moments and thoughts can be transmitted to millions in just a mere click of a "SEND" button.
"No, not at all. She OD'd on wine, cookie dough and Brown Sugar last night," she responded.
"Brown Sugar? Lol. Like packets of it?"
"No, like the movie. Lol."
"A black movie?"
"Yes, Noah. Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs. The one Kam's pressed for...N e ways it doesn't matter. What are we going to do about it?"
"What are we supposed to do? She'll get through this she always does."
"Yeah, I guess. But do you think this will mess up everything? Like all of our friendships and stuff? Like I don't want to have to choose."
Choose? I mean did she really have a choice? Kamryn was her sister. Ethan was just Ethan.
"I'm sure it will be fine,” I decided to respond.
"Ok. I hope you're right."
Of course I am. I mean it wasn't like we all hung out like we used to anyways. Kam, Soph and I were all within an hour of each other. Ethan lived further out near the slopes; a good two hours from the three of us and Zuri lived down south. We grew up. We grew apart. Every now and then we would cross paths, connect and intersect at the important events of our lives, but as time passed so did the necessity to be forever linked. I cared about them all, loved Kam and Soph with all my heart, but it was time I learned who I was outside of them.
Kamryn was next. She deserved a call. I couldn't disrespect her moment with a text.
"Hey babe," she answered solemnly.
"Hey what's going on?" I said cheerfully and pretending to be naive.
"I made a complete and utter fool of myself, Noah!"
"Kam-Kam, what's wrong?"
"Are you busy? Can we get pancakes?"
"Yeah babe. I'll be at the IHOP in fifteen."
On my drive over I contemplated what I would say, how I would respond to her broken heart. I didn't have a clue. I never had the right words, just a listening hear. Hopefully that was all she needed. I wasn't the best to give advice. I mean, I was hiding my own feelings for Sophia. Well not really hiding them, I am sure they were painfully obvious, but I ignored them because the ramifications of that could mean the death of an amazing friendship.
"How did we all get here?" I said to myself as I got out of my car and headed into the restaurant. It was so much simpler when we were younger. Or maybe it was that the weight of our lives at that time was lighter. We could carry it with grace, honor, and pride. Now somehow we've managed to make a tangled web of complications with the most delicate of relationships. Being in love with your best friend is typically the ideal circumstance. But that ideal quickly becomes a nightmare when they don't love you back.
I got a table and ordered coffee for the both of us. Kamryn walked in and her appearance screamed, "I'm trying to cover a broken heart." Her hair pulled up in a messy pony tail. No make-up, not even lip gloss, just chap stick. Sweats, Ugg boots and that god awful Dr. Seuss striped sweater. I rose from my seat and wrapped her in my arms and let her cry her pain onto my chest.
"It will be okay," I lied to her.
She just nodded and cried harder telling me she knew I wasn't telling her the truth.