#193 - "The College Roommate"

posted Aug 6, 2012, 11:40 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Feb 6, 2013, 12:21 AM ]
Featuring:
Chris – Erick’s boyfriend
Everett – Erick’s visiting roommate from college

Erick sits on a bench outside his apartment building. He watches as a sleek black convertible blasting Keisha Cole with the top down pulls up in front. Erick shakes his head and smiles. The car eases its way into a spot just north of the building’s main entrance. The top comes down and locks. The door opens and the driver gets out to greet Erick.

“Bighead!” the driver yells.

“Knucklehead!” Erick yells back.

Erick runs up to Everett, his roommate from college, and lifts him up in a bear hug.

“Look at you!” Everett exclaims when Erick finally puts him down. “You’re so brave to wear such a form-fitting t-shirt!”

“Look at you!” Erick replies. “Wearing shorts to show off those chicken legs!”

Both Erick and Everett lose their smiles and stare each other down.

“I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed you until I saw you pull up,” Erick says through a stone face.

Everett laughs and gives Erick another hug. “I can’t believe it’s been six years since I’ve seen you.”

“Don’t you ever stay away from me that long.”

Everett opens up the trunk to his rental car. “Those six years were your fault.”

“How do you figure?”

Everett takes a small suitcase out of the trunk. “I made the last visit when you were living in New York.”

“That doesn’t count. You were there for a conference.”

“Who travelled?”

“Who paid?”

“Who travelled?”

“What was the purpose of your trip?”

“When was the last time you were in Charlotte to visit me?”

“When was the last time you were in LA to visit ME?”

“I would have visited you here sooner except this was the longest time you’ve been here since I last saw you.”

Erick narrows his eyes and glares at Everett for a moment. “That’s a good point.”

Everett laughs. “I had to go there. But in actuality, there are times I wished I had lived here, there and the North Pole – even if I didn’t know what I was doing as I was doing it.”

Erick tilts his head as he processes Everett’s questionable comment. “Do you need help with your bag?” he asks with tinge of curtness.

Everett pulls up the handle. “Nope. I’m good. This thing has wheels.”

“Are you ready to meet Chris?”

“Is Chris ready to meet me?”

Erick starts to walk toward the entrance to his building. “A better question would be if I am ready for the two of you to meet each other.”

*********************************

Erick cracks open the door to his apartment. “Chris, are you decent?”

“I’m clothed, but that’s about it,” Chris responds from the couch.

“Are you ready to meet Everett?”

“Is Everett ready to meet me?”

“One second thought, I’m not ready for either one of you to meet each other after all,” Erick says, trying to close the door.

Everett pushes past Erick and walks into the apartment. “Ain’t nobody got time for this!”

Chris laughs and gets up from the couch to greet Everett. “I gather you saw that video, too?” Chris asks.

“I’m the one who sent it to the Bighead,” Everett answers as he and Chris shake hands. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“It’s great to meet you, Everett,” Chris says. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Everett looks back at Erick and then at Chris. “And what have you heard?”

Erick directs Everett into the bathroom. “You must be starving. Why don’t you freshen up so we can go out to an early dinner?” Erick suggests. “It’s Chris’s treat.”

********************************

“So what was Erick like in college?” Chris asks Everett over dinner. Erick hides his face in his hands.

“He was sooo deep back then,” Everett begins. “We both sang in the gospel choir, but he was Mr. Holy Holy Holy. Didn’t drink. Didn’t curse. Didn’t talk about nobody. And tried very hard to fight his gay disease.”

“Wow, things sure have changed,” Chris comments with a smile.

Erick shoots Chris a warning glare. Chris chuckles while Everett laughs tauntingly.

“And he fought it hard…” Everett continues. “…prayer, counseling, denial, repression and fiddling around with one of our roommate’s boyfriends.”

Erick twists his mouth, having tried to explain this many times over the years to many people who heard one of the many versions of this story. “I didn’t know they were still seeing each other – and he started it,” Erick states in defense.

Chris takes a swig of wine to avoid chuckling but his shoulders give him away. Erick shoots Chris another displeased look, which Chris averts in favor of watching Everett dissolve into quiet laughter.

“And he even tried to take up a girlfriend,” Everett adds. “I’m sure you know about her.”

“I do,” Chris replies. “Her name was Lori, right?”

Erick looks back and forth between Chris and Everett. “Lena.”

Everett backs away from the table, doubling over in silent laughter.

“Are you okay, Everett?” Erick asks.

Everett composes himself. “Chris, I have to tell you about Lena. She and Erick were perfect together – as it were. She was just as deep as he was. She didn’t allow him to kiss her because she didn’t want them to be tempted to, and I quote, commit sins of the flesh with each other.”

“Really?” Chris asks in disbelief.

“Yes, and it worked!” Everett exclaims. “He just started committing them with guys instead!”

Chris and Everett burst out in laughter again. Erick takes notice of a few customers looking over at their table.

Erick stands up. “I think we’d better go,” he says.

Everett pulls Erick back down in his chair. “I will give him this, though,” he adds cheekily during a momentary break in the laughter. “He was very fervent about it all.”

Chris and Everett then laugh even harder. Erick looks away in annoyance, but a faint smile creeps across his face.

*********************************

“Did you really need to bring up the lip-synch contest?” Erick asks as he and Everett walk into his apartment. Chris had dropped them off, opting to stay at his own apartment so that Erick and Everett could have some time alone to catch up.

Everett takes off his shoes, walks over to the couch and collapses on it. “Yes. Because I’ve always found it funny that the first time you participated, you performed ‘Long As I Got King Jesus’. But two years later it was ‘You Light Up My Life’. I’ve always considered that your unofficial coming out.”

Erick sits down next to Everett. “I don’t think I ever had an official coming out.”

“Dude, your life was your coming out.”

“Despite that comment, I’m glad you’re here.”

“I am too. I like Chris.”

“I could tell by the way you two kibitzed with each other like Mary and Rose on the stoop of 227.”

“Let’s give it up for 227,” Everett jokes with his two pointer fingers raised in the air toward heaven.

Erick does the same and the two of them laugh.

“It’s like no time as passed,” Erick says. “Despite all the changes in our lives and in ourselves, you’re still a knucklehead.”

“And you’re still a bighead.”

“So what do you want to do tomorrow?”

“I want to take you shopping. What happened to your wardrobe?”

“Well, I gave away bunch of clothes four months ago because I couldn’t wear anymore. Then I started losing weight.” 

“I wasn’t talking about that,” Everett says, putting his arm around Erick’s shoulders. “I’m glad you’re no longer wearing those silly fisherman hats, but your fashion sense hasn’t improved with age as much as you have.”