We have been tracked down by strange days
They are here to destroy those casual joys
The hostess is grinning, her guest list is sinning
Back to the madness, a game of two boys
Nuff was finally visiting. I was genuinely surprised that he’d actually made it here. He always made wild promises.
“I like to surprise people”.
He liked to surprise people, he said. So much for that being true. I still wouldn’t bet on him, though. Consistency isn’t a natural trait as far as he’s concerned. But then again, defying this and becoming uncharacteristically dependable (and therefore, more consistent) JUST to surprise me isn’t beyond him either.
Nuff was in-between assignments. He had about a month to spare, and in his own words: “I was in this hemisphere anyway, so it seemed like a good idea to drop by”. I didn’t want to remind him that he’d always be “a hemisphere” away, but I think that’s what he meant anyway.
So I went to the airport to pick him up. I didn’t have to wait long. He wasn’t flying first class, but I knew what he was like. He’d have charmed the pants off (many times, quite literally) the air hostess (and once, quite literally, the air steward – that’s another story), so he would have been amongst the first few to get off the plane. Also, he never checked his bags in.
“Waiting for your own bags to come to you on some antiquated delivery chain is a redundant and blasphemously stupid indulgence in self-flaggelation. Shame on you”.
That’s what he told me the last time we travelled together, anyway.
So there he was, on the lower parking level of the airport. Sunglasses, a smile and a cigarette – quintessential Nuff. “You’ve lost weight – Stanford’s been kind to you, you chump”, he said, throwing his backpack into the backseat. “It’s been a while man, good to see you too”, I said, handing the aux cable of the car stereo over to him. He was extremely particular about the music playing while he was around, so I knew better than to play something he wouldn’t like. It was always easier to avoid the arguments, and to simply give him the controls. He had impeccable taste in music anyway; the control freak in him made sure of that. Very soon, we were off, with my favorite Stoned Daffodils song fueling our drive forward. It seemed like we hadn’t been apart for the last seven months at all. I was glad he was back.
“So Nuff, why’re you here? I wasn’t expecting you to write anytime soon, much less visit”. He put his cigarette out. I recognized that look on him. Something had clearly brought him here, and when he knew that I knew something, he’d always look me straight in the eye like he was daring me to push on through. “It’s her, isn’t it? She’s finally bent you sideways. I told you this would happen”.
Nuff clearly didn’t like what I’d just said. “I’m going to get into the minds of your children one day, and I’ll make them make you sorry you said that”. He was joking, of course, but he was clearly upset.
“Oh don’t start with that now. I’m onto something, aren’t I? She called me two weeks ago, explained that she’d landed that nice internship here. Frankly, I didn’t expect you to tail her down here so soon”.
“I’ve just got here and I’d prefer to pretend to listen to what you’ve been up to, rather than talk about this right now. So spare me the analysis, Puff Daddy”.
“Is that what she told you?”
“Well well well – looks who’s finally dropped a pair into a sack!”
“That’s definitely something she told you”.
He laughed, and he really seemed like he meant it that time. I hadn’t seen that smile for a while. “It’s good to see you again man. It really has been a while”.
He sat back, and his OCD-inspired music kept us in good spirits for the whole drive. I was glad he was visiting. This was going to be really good fun.
Nuff said – “You’ve been talking trash to the garbage around you long enough anyway”.