Stringing my white iPod cords around my neck, he looked me firmly in the face and said, "It's a crisp beautiful night. You need a walk. You need to REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE." Then he pressed three dollars into my hand and said, "Go get a marshmallow square."
I picked up my leaden feet and walked out the door, taking care to slam it and stomp so he'd know I wasn't doing this willingly. The air was nice, the music depressing. (Why do I listen to so much Sylvie Lewis?) I walked to DeWitt Park, located a dry bench, and reclined upon it so I could watch the sky and contemplate ways to punish Benj for shoving me out into the cloying air.
Thoughts rose up, volleyed, congealed. I made no big emotional breakthroughs, but I did decide now was not the time for a marshmallow square. I walked to Starbucks, had an iced coffee (sweetened!) and watched college girls pick out travel mugs.
I used to do lame shit like that too, under the premise they would actually help me study. They did not. I sometimes wonder what happened to the mugs I so copiously collected. Did they go to the same lost place as my Christmas music? My favorite ring? My Urban Outfitters arm socks?
I sipped noisily, using my finger to wipe away the fog around my plastic cup. Beside me, a boy called his friend to ask for her notes on The Great Gatsby. "I'm at Starbucks," he said. "No, it can wait, I'd never ask you to walk somewhere. I said I'd never ask you to walk somewhere."
He repeated that last sentence two more times, which led me to conclude he was damn well trying to get her to walk somewhere. I finished my drink. My fingertips were frostbitten and I did not want to sit around chewing the ice, so I threw the cup in the trash, buried my earbuds back into my head, and walked out into the damp blue night.
Near home, I saw someone running toward me and waving his hands. It was a confusing gesture and I pulled out my earbuds (why?) and stopped to see if I could recognize who it was.
Benj grabbed me before I even identified him (could I use a new prescription?) and breathlessly cried, "I was running up and down the street, looking for you! I didn't want to leave home because I thought you might come back before I did, and I kept popping my head out at the same time as the girl next door, so I think she thinks I'm mad."
He bubbled happily on and I put my arm around his waist. It was a nice solid feeling. Close to home, he raised an arm expansively and said, "Look, neighbours, I'm not crazy! I was looking for someone. I was looking for my little love." And he squeezed, and I was happy, and together we watched the last half-hour of Fringe.