Happy Saturday, everyone! I am proud to announce that I finally finished the first chapter in a new series I’ve been working on called Complicated Lives. Before I get to the story, I should give some background info. For those who have read my last post know what makes someone’s life complicated. It’s not when you have a bunch of crap going on in your life or when life isn’t going your way. A complicated life is when you deal with the hardships of your own life as well as help others live their lives. My parents do it, I do it, and during my travels, I have met numerous people who do or have done the same. You may think that having a complicated life is a fairly common thing, but then you’d be wrong. It’s quite the opposite, actually.
There’s a lesson that I learned from the hit T.V. show, Girl Meets World. It’s a great show, it’s on Netflix, you should watch it. They taught people the secret of life, which is that people change people. What does this mean? It means that your life is affected by the people you surround yourself with. Your knowledge and happiness comes from those people. Many people will tell you that’s not how life should be, that you should affect your own life and generate your own happiness, but the that’s the truth. Believe it or not there is a deeper meaning to that. A hidden secret to the secret of life that I also learned from Girl Meets World. That lesson is ‘what us does for them.’ “Us” are the ones who are blessed with a stable life. The people who can wake up from their warm beds in the morning and eat pancakes with their family. “Them” are the people who are not that fortunate. No, this is not entirely about money. Money only plays a small role in this lesson. I come from a family with little money. There was never a year that we did not struggle, but my parents did the best they could to shield me and my siblings from that fact. All we knew that our parents were struggling and we didn’t know the why until we grew older. Even though we struggled, we were still happy. Even now, my family struggles with money, but we are still able to find happiness in our lives. My family is part of the “us” because we are blessed and fortunate to have loving people in our lives and we help “them.” We have kindness that we share with others. That’s something many people take for granted.
I created this story for those who know both these secrets and live their lives by them whether they realize it or not. My story is about 3 best friends who struggle to live their complicate lives after college. I hope that this will be one of my greatest stories, so any comments I can get are greatly appreciated.
This is a story of a dumbass. His name is Ezra Best. He lives in a nice two bedroom apartment in Seattle, Washington. It has the usual apartment furnishings of the 21st century. An island style, granite kitchen connected to a living room furnished with a black microfiber sofa, a dinner table for four, and a TV. All the walls are painted with this kind of tinted sky blue instead of the generic white. This complex is a bit on the fancy side. It’s pricey that’s for sure. “What veggies do you want for dinner, Sammy?” Ezra asked as he lowered the temperature of the rice on the stove. “We have broccoli, cream corn, zucchini, and…” he trailed off because when he turned around from the fridge he found Sam holding his stupid cat right in front of his face.
“Pet Captain Meow Meow,” he announced with a huge smile on his face. For the record, her name was not Captain Meow Meow. Sam was one of Ezra’s best friends and had been his roommate for almost a year now. He’s a 23 year old, blonde dork. And also…a dumbass. He looked like an intelligent man, which he was, but he also looked like one of those guys that you can tell was fully capable of leading a four hour conversation with you about Pokémon before needing a drink of water. Ezra stared at both of them with this questionable look. He turned Sam around and inched him out of the kitchen. “But kitty,” said Sam in a disappointed tone.
“I’m cooking dinner, Sammy, I’m not rubbing your cat.” Ezra said in a monotone voice while he started the cream corn. As they waited for dinner, Sam refilled his cat’s food bowl and Ezra took a seat at the dinner table. “Sam, have you seen Kumo? I haven’t seen him since I’ve been home.”
“Oh, I got someone to walk him because he seemed sad being inside the house while we were at work,” he said as he took a seat at the table. He had an uneasy smile like he did something he shouldn’t have.
“Who did you get to walk Kumo?”
“Just one of the neighbors,” Sam chuckled and backed up into his chair. Ever since Sam and Ezra were kids, he couldn’t keep up a lie or a secret for too long. Backing away with a chuckle was how people could tell if he did something stupid. Ezra leaned towards him.
“Sam. Which neighbor?” There was only one neighbor they had that Ezra had a problem with and for good reason. “Sam, you didn’t.” Sam shrugged his shoulders. “You can’t be serious. You actually let her walk-”
“Hey guys,” pronounced a woman’s voice. She had glimmering black hair that went to her shoulders and flowed as smoothly as a river. She wore a red tank top featuring Snoopy and Woodstock, black skinny jeans with small tears, and a pair of red Toms. Her tattoos were intricate. One of a majestic bird could be seen on her right arm with a date underneath while a dream catcher rested on the underside of her left arm. She walked through the door with a Husky the size of a couch cushion, which was trying to shake off its leash. “Okay, Kumo, I’ll take it off just give me a minute.” As soon as she did, Kumo ran down the hall and jumped onto Ezra’s lap. Francine moved into the two bedroom apartment right across from the guys two months ago. She was still looking for a roommate, but did pretty well on her own. Mostly because she always came over to the guys’ place and ate all of their food.
“Hey, Francine.” Sam and Ezra greeted simultaneously.
“What did you do to my dog?” Ezra accused.
“Why do you think I did something? Look. Kumo is perfectly fine and loved going on a walk with me. Isn’t that right, buddy?” She petted him as she sat at the table.
“Because you have a habit of doing stupid stuff and I’m making sure you didn’t do anything terrible with Kumo.”
“Are you still mad about last week? I said I was sorry like twenty times.”
“Well, it wasn’t enough. I won’t forgive you so quickly for something so stupid. You’re just lucky Nick pulled us over instead of some other officer and we got off with a warning.” Ezra exclaimed.
“Exactly. It’s not like it was put on record.” She retorted in a louder voice.
“We still spent the night in jail!” He retaliated, raising his voice slightly higher, but not fully yelling. Ezra usually kept a level head and remained calm, however, Francine was one of those few people who made him loose his cool.
“Okay guys. I think we should just calm down. It’s time to eat dinner anyway,” Sam pronounced from the kitchen. During the argument, he had backed away into the kitchen to check on the food. Francine and Ezra got up and helped Sam set the table so they could eat. As they started eating, Sam asked, “How was your day, Ez?” He was trying to get rid of the residual tension in the room like Francine and Ezra were partners bickering at a counseling session.
Ezra tried to focus on Sam and push his problem with Francine to the back of his mind. “It was pretty good. I repaired a few cars that didn’t have any major damages, so they were fairly easy to fix. It was just some engine problems or a leaking gas pipe. There was one car that had a busted heater hose, so that took longer took fix, but I had help. And there was this ninja motorcycle that had crappy suspensions, so that took a few hours to fix, but yea, my day went pretty well.” He proceeded to scarf down more food.
“What was wrong with the suspensions?” Sam asked. He was very curious in Ezra’s work because he received his degree in computer science and didn’t know much about the mechanics of vehicles. He also enjoyed any distraction he could get from his own work. It took a second for Ez to finish swallowing his food so he could give a reply.
“It was very loose and squeaked every time the weight on it shifted. Clearly the owner was dumb enough to buy it in such a dangerous state or the bike was wrecked by someone. I was never told how it happened, but I really didn’t care as long as I got it fixed.” Francine abruptly spoke out as Sam was about to say something,
“You have a motorcycle, don’t you?!” She seemed really excited even though she’s known about Ezra’s motorcycle for weeks.
“Yep. Ez got it from his girlfriend,” Sam explained. As soon as he said that, Ezra gave him a stern look.
“I thought you said you didn’t have a girlfriend?” Francine was very intrigued now. She, as well as Sam, loved meddling in Ezra’s love life, however, he always shrugged them off whenever they wanted to talk about it. He sat back in his seat and sighed.
“I don’t have a girlfriend. I got that bike from my ex as a birthday present last year.” He was definitely annoyed now, but there was nothing much he could do about it. They were curious about his life. Especially Sam. And it’s not like he had been very forthcoming about his past. He hated talking about it. There were many depressing memories that he would rather not even think about.
“Wow. You two must have ended it on a good note, huh? I wish one of my ex’s continued to send me gifts after we broke up. Why’d she break up with you anyway?” Ezra gave her a look that he gave many of his friends at one point in time. The “You’re an idiot look”. His eyes narrowed into a glare and he tilted his head slightly. Sam started to laugh when he saw Ezra give Francine that look.
“Why do you automatically assume she broke up with me? And no, we didn’t end it on a good note, but she just gave me the bike anyway. Like a farewell present or something.” Francine was about to say something else, but Ezra spaced out and was engulfed by a particular memory.
The flashback was a bit of a blur. Like a TV channel that fizzes out while you’re watching a show. Ezra was walking out of a house, which was covered with numerous shades of brown, to the adjacent garage. The sun was shining brilliantly as it scorched the dry air. He slowly walked past the gravel yard into the garage to find a black Dyna Glide with a golden tribal print. On the headlight was an envelope with Ezra’s name on it. The handwriting was so beautiful that it was clearly from a woman. He opened up the envelope to find a letter. Because the memory kept fizzing out, all that could be read was, “I want you to have her as a good luck charm. I love this bike and I know it would be better if you kept her and fixed her up more because I know that you have the talent to do so. I love you with all my heart, happy birthday.” At the bottom of the letter was written: Love you, Natalie Moon. Ezra stared at the bike for a few seconds and then suddenly turned around. At that moment, he could hear Francine’s voice.
“Ez. Yo, Ezra, are you still with us? Did you listen to a word I just said?” Francine kept calling him as he slowly came back to reality. Sam started to shake his arm.
“Yea I’m fine,” he said as he removed Sam’s arm. I just spaced out for a moment.” He turned to Francine. “And no, I didn’t hear anything you just said.” He went back to eating his meal.
“I said that you shouldn’t worry about her. If she wasn’t into you that much then she’s not worth your time. People come and go, it happens. You should go try looking for another girl. Who knows, you might find ‘the one’.” Francine was actually concerned now. She knew firsthand what it was like having people you trust walk out on you. She realized how sad Ezra was over this and wanted to help him move on, but he was not ready for it. He remained silent.
Sam pitched in, “that’s a great idea. Ez you should go meet some girls, maybe get a few numbers.” Ezra was unsurprised how delighted Sam was with this idea.
“Coming from the guy who spent last Saturday night cuddling his cat while watching ‘Frozen’. Again.” Ezra smirked.
“Umm, excuse me, but Butterscotch loves it when I hug her,” he said as he picked his cat off the floor, “and I recall you watching the movie, too.” Sam stroked Buttersnap’s fur.
“I only watched it with you because it was the only way to get you to watch ‘TMNT 2’. I wouldn’t willingly watch ‘Frozen’, ever, let alone the sing-a-long version. Listening to you try and harmonize with Idina Menzel is like hearing Kanye West speak. What comes out of your mouth is so sad, that you can’t help but laugh.” Francine was trying not to laugh herself.
“Ez, you’re just jealous that I’m a better singer than you. And your stupid ninja turtle movie wasn’t even that great,” Sam retaliated. Ezra became wide eyed and placed his hand on his chest like he was having a heart attack.
“First of all, the hell you are, and second, don’t dis Green Arrow’s first blockbuster movie. It was amazing and did way better than the first one.”
“Okay, Ez, I’ll let you indulge yourself in your delusions for now, but you’ll have to accept the truth someday.” Sam laughed as Ezra glared at him.
“Alright, guys, we’ve gotten too far off topic. Let’s go to a bar and pick up some girls. It will be fun.” Francine seemed so proud of herself. She was so excited by her own idea.
“You say that like that’s an easy thing to do. Do you know us? That argument alone should tell you how easily it is for us to get a girl’s number.” Ezra found the idea of him and Sam getting lucky that night absurd.
“It’s okay, Ez, she’s new.” Sam assured him. Ezra nodded in agreement.
“C’mon. With me as your wingman, you’ll both be scoring. Just imagine all the women we can get if we work together.” Francine stood up and gazed at the ceiling.
“What the hell is she doing?” Ezra whispered to Sam. They both searched the ceiling. Francine looked puzzled.
“I’m having a daydream moment. Do you guys not do that here?”
The boys nodded their heads in understanding of their friend’s weird gesture. “Oh we do, we just haven’t done it in a while. When’s the last time we did one of those, Sam?”
“I’m pretty sure it was last Christmas.”
“Ah, good times.” Ezra reminisced.
“Yea, that was an eventful Christmas. We should bring back daydream moments.”
“Great idea. Maybe next week.” Francine didn’t know what to say or do.
“Fran, I’ve got a question. Didn’t you mean to say wing-woman instead of wingman?” Sam asked.
“Oh, good question, I was wondering that myself. Most women nowadays prefer being called wing-lady or something odd like that.” Said Ezra. Francine sat back down at the table.
“That’s what feminists like to call themselves to show that they can help guys get dates, but really they just fuck shit up.” Francine’s explanation made the boys laugh ecstatically.
“Burn!” Ezra announced. All of their laughter lasted for a few moments until Sam had come to a realization.
“Fran, why do you want us to help you get girls, anyway?” Sam asked. “You do so well by yourself.”
“Yea, we see a new girl do the walk of shame out of your apartment every morning.” Ezra chimed in. “Sam and I even started rating which one was the best. Most of the women come out strutting down the hall like models on a runway or like they just finished a business deal.”
“Some of them even dressed the part,” Sam added. “However, some walk out all hung over and trip down the hall, it’s pretty funny.”
“Oh yea, remember the one from last Thursday?” Ezra chuckled.
“With the one high heel and the Mrs. Frankenstein afro?”
“Yep.” They were both trying to hold it in, but neither of them could contain there laughter. “That’s the one!” Ezra had his arms stretched out and mimicked the walk of Frankenstein’s monster.
“I don’t see what’s so funny. The last woman I saw walk out of your place was, Buttersnap. And she walked right into my apartment.” Fran said over the boys’ laughter. She didn’t know why she was being so defensive. She couldn’t care less about those women, but she realized how much she needed them. Not them exactly, but what they provided.
“No need to get hostile, Fran, we’re just joking,” Ezra said.
“Yea, sorry, but it was just too funny to pass up.” Sam said as he chuckled.
“I know, I didn’t mean to act like a bitch,” Francine apologized.
“It’s ok, we’re used to it.” Sam laughed at Ezra’s comment. Ezra looked at his watch and started cleaning up the table. “It’s getting pretty late and I don’t feel like going anywhere, so we’ll go out with you some other time, I promise.”
“You two aren’t ready, I understand. So, what do you guys want to do tonight?” Francine asked. They all looked at each other.
“How about a movie?” Sam suggested after a brief moment of silence.
“Sure. Let’s watch Star Wars,” Fran announced.
“Ok. What else should we watch?”
“Sam, its nine o’clock and you want to watch two movies? Don’t you have work to do tomorrow?” Ezra was very confused. He was glad Sam wanted to have a movie night, but Sam’s always so committed to his work that he never wants to make time for anything else. However, tonight, Sam was trying to do anything to avoid his work. He loved his job, however, the amount of assignments he had to complete stressed him out.
“I do, but I got a lot done today, so I can relax a bit.” Sam reassured his friend. He was lying and Ezra knew it.
“Alright, if you guys want, we’ll watch episodes seven and eight.” Ezra knew if his friend was over worked, he wasn’t going to stop the guy from relaxing a little. Sam and Francine agreed. As Ezra looked for the movies, the other two took comfort on the couch.
“…Ok, I just want to know? Do you guys think I’m a slut?” Asked Fran. She didn’t want to let things go. The guys looked at her. And at each other. And then looked away as they uttered words Fran couldn’t hear. “C’mon, you can tell me. I promise I won’t get mad,” she pleaded. Sam and Ezra looked at each other and back at her and shook their heads.
“Nope,” Sam said.
“No, just easy.” Ezra replied in a hushed voice.
“What did you say?” Fran said a bit too loudly than she intended.
“Hey. Don’t yell at me, I was just repeating what Sam said the other day.” Ezra had his hands raised in fear with one of them pointed towards Sam. Fran stared at Sam with narrowed eyes.
“Woah. Ez was the one who said you were a nympho,” Sam said. He started to laugh.
“You said what?!”
“That was not what I said. I said that you were probably a weirdo. Sam’s half deaf, he most likely misheard me. Like always.” Ezra tried really hard to defend himself, but no one was buying his crap. He looked at Kumo resting on the floor by the couch. “You believe me, buddy. Right?” Kumo lifted his head and stared at him for a second and laid he head back down. “Thanks, bro. You truly make me believe in the whole ‘man’s best friend’ saying,” Ezra said sarcastically. Kumo gave a soft bark as if to say, “You’re welcome.” “You suck.” Francine and Sam laughed.
“No, Ezra, you suck. And you’re a dumbass. Who argues with a dog?” Fran couldn’t stop laughing.
“Clearly, I do, so you both can just shut up.”
“You sounded like a five year old,” Sam said while Ezra took a seat on the couch.
“You’re a five year old,” Ez retaliated. He scowled and puffed out his cheeks like a toddler who had to share the toy he was playing with. The movie started to play.
“If you ask me, I think you’re both children,” Francine added.
“We didn’t ask,” the boys said simultaneously. They all laughed at the coincidence. They continued cracking jokes as they watched their movies. Neither of them wanted the night to end. They knew that once it did, they’d have to face reality. And reality sucked.