By the first week, Griffin had been annoyed by the lack of space in his car due to the aforementioned oversized dresser. Annoyed so much, in fact, that he decided to procrastinate no longer and take the damn thing apart. He had received it as a moving gift from his grandmother, along with a plate of the best meatballs this side of Genoa. Tawny had been on his case all week about the dresser, but when he suggested she take it apart, she merely acted annoyed and walked away. The hinges were rusty from the vapor of bruscetta and plate after plate of Christmas cookies, making it increasingly difficult to remove the sticky bolts and hinges. Without any help from Tawny, Griffin dismantled the beast and moved it piece by piece to their second floor abode. One flight of stairs felt like three.
Meanwhile, Sal was putting up his Ziggy Stardust poster, predominantly displayed opposite the bedroom doors.
Griffin, armed with the front left cabinet door, passes him. ‘That’s tacky dude.’
‘You’re tacky.’ Sal elaborated, ‘Its a reminder that today is it. That you don’t get another today until tomorrow, but that’s another story.’ Sal would not consider the significance of this until much later, when his story was quite another indeed.
It was the sunset of summer, of one to be forgotten, of one where the destination is unimportant, but the path is everything. The past few months had succumbed to the post-adolescent changes. Griffin sat on the stoop with his feet on the fallen tree. He thought about that day in the park, after school let out. He thought of Tawny; the way her fingers fell across her lap during economics. About five weeks before that day in the park, he sat beside her. He would never forget those fingers and the eyes that met his when she noticed his staring; they hinted at innocence hidden behind an ulterior motive. Those deep eyes were made deeper by then black hair killed him in the park that day.
‘go up and talk to her man, don’t be a pussy’ Sal urged between long drags of a cheap cigar.
Griffin was never good at these things. Everyone always told him to ‘act naturally’, but he could never be himself at times like these. What is ‘natural’ anyway? We’re creatures of habit, but also of circumstantial behavior. What is natural is what pertains to the moment. At this moment he naturally wanted a stiff drink. No such luck, Griffin. He whistled a relevant alice cooper song in his head with his hands in his pockets.
Tawny was like his first kiss in his parent’s basement. Yeah, Tawny was like that, but at the same time she wasn’t. The opposite showed through; even throughout her consistency she imposed on herself, she held a surprising amount of spontaneity. The monster truck tshirts and yearlong construction boots did not scare him anymore, nor did they define her character to him, like it did for others. He pushed the cigarette into the gravel and threw it into the flowerpot his mother had given him. Like his first cigarette at 16, his last had tasted of the pressure of others. Pressure to conform, pressure to perform. Tawny seemed immune of this. He thought it was just the motion of putting his hand to his mouth, but he needed it now. Vitamin N. He laughed at this to make light of the situation, out loud, for there was noone to hear. He did this too much; Trying to balance things. But balance is not performing.