Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Fictional Characters of New York — #28

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When you’re childhood friends such as Bree and Kathy, roommates in college, keeper of secrets, nothing should come between you, especially a man.

But Tyler became that man.

In Bree’s opinion, Tyler was sexy as hell and great in bed, but an irresponsible child, not worthy of someone like herself, an up-and-coming new media executive with a Fortune 500 company.  Yes, there was chemistry, but she assumed it merely the result of a common background from similar families in the Bronx.   No, he was not Mr. Right.  It was a step backwards, not forward.

So, after Bree broke it off , she had no problem giving Kathy her approval, her blessing even, to see Tyler on a casual basis, knowing Kathy’s loneliness and lack of success in the dating world.

Bree never expected any real chemistry between the two, the athletic and intense Tyler and the pretty, but bookish Kathy, or that she would soon feel the jealousy and torment of imagining the pale and blushing Kathy riding the naked body of this awful and selfish man with wild abandon, and enjoying it tremendously.   This was not the Kathy that she knew.

“Do you want me to stop seeing him?” asked Kathy at Chipotle a few weeks later, sensing Bree’s frustration. She was good at reading the moods of people, something Bree lacked.

“No,” said Bree.

“Bree, your friendship is more important to me. I’ll ask you again. Do you want me to stop seeing him?”

“Yes.” she said.

Kathy paused, expecting the answer she didn’t want to hear.

“Fuck you, Bree. I’ll do it for you. But fuck you. I was happy.”

It was the first time Bree ever heard the proper-bred Kathy curse.

Kathy kept her promise, but didn’t return any of Bree’s phone calls.  Kathy also quit any activities that might bring the two in contact, such as their book club, or attending concerts at the Y. For three years, the two women — once best friends — cut off all contact.

In April, as spring arrived in the city, and the flowers bloomed in Central Park, Bree and Kathy crossed paths again, in the produce section of Whole Foods on 57th Street. They both started to cry, tears of happiness and guilt, and retreated to the upstairs coffee bar to reconnect and embrace. They had committed the worst sin possible — they had let a man break them apart.

“I love you, Bree. I’m sorry I cut things off. I thought about you every day. You’re my best friend. Forever.”

“It was my fault,” said Kathy, blowing her nose with a Whole Foods napkin. “I discussed it all with my therapist. I was too co-dependent. I’ve always been that way with men. The most important thing in life is friendship. The most important thing in life is… YOU.”

Bree put her hand on Kathy’s. The two women stood, and reaching over the table, they hugged strongly, as if the power of the hold could make up for three years lost time.

“I’ve moved to a new condo,” said Kathy, as they left Whole Foods. “I live around the corner on Third. Come walk with me. I’ll show you the place.”

“Of course,” said Bree. “I want to hear about everything that’s happened with you over the last three years, best friend.”

“Same here, best friend,” replied Kathy.

They two of them walked down 57th Street, together, into the sunset. And then, as they crossed the street, they saw him, wearing a blue and white checkered shirt and his hair combed neatly.  It was Tyler.  He looked better than ever.

5 Comments

  1. 1. They could pretend they didn’t see Tyler and proceed with their lives unchained to his memory, his influence, his damn beautiful blue and white checkered shirt.
    2. They could stop to chat with him and he could tell them he’s happily married to a beautiful, successful woman and he himself has made a ton of money with the invention he patented two years ago for a portable birthing tub, an idea he came up with after the perfect home birth of he and his wife’s first baby whom they named Adah Rose and who is now the cutest baby in the world and adored by everyone who meets her.
    3. They could stop and chat with him, all go for drinks, end up deciding that quite truthfully, they were all in love with each other and could take it from there in Kathy’s new condo that very evening. They could live together forever in perfect harmony, all loving each other in every way possible.

    See what you’ve done with such few words? I love these portraits, Neil.

  2. NEVER. BREAK. THE CODE. Because that’s what always happens.

  3. An honest retelling of fictional characters for sure.
    Love is going to find a way, even if it needs to burn a few bridges. I think I heard a match striking at the end. 😉

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