“Here, follow me.”
His inviting voice whenever I was with him always seemed to form into that phrase. All he wanted – and all I wanted – was to explore the city by ourselves. Eager, we sneak ourselves away from our tourist families and venture into the areas within Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and other cities in New York.
Telling my adventures as if it’s a story will never own up to its authentic worth of experience. It’s not the fact that I was with a boy or that I was in this city of opportunity, but the fact that both were combined together, giving me a friend seeking the same thing: adventure.
However, every minute I spent with my so-called friend only consisted of rude nicknames, hitting each other’s stomachs, leaving bruises on each other’s arms, and being on the verge of throwing each other in front of a subway. But as each day passed and we stood in silence and gazed out into the streets, our presence made the chaotic city feel at peace.
We’re lounging around, laying on top of each other on the couch since our families wanted a “break day,” but drowned in boredom, we decide to walk a couple miles from his house to an abandoned park. We continue walking and notice the park doesn’t appear as a park anymore and transitions into the woods. Seeing two adult and one baby deers brought a smile to my face, and as we walk further down the hills and deeper into the endless trees, we approach an abandoned house. As we try to reach it without slipping through the vertical piles of dirt, we feel sprinkles of water grazing our skin. After a few minutes, it begins pouring. I begin laughing as he complains and groans claiming it’s my fault. I’m smiling as I close my eyes and embrace the showers thrashing onto my skin clinging onto my clothes. He grabs my hand and we reach the house and stand close together under an archway hoping it blocks the rain away, but it doesn’t. We’re staring at each other, hitting each other with branches throwing back and forth to whose fault it is, then he grabs me by the waist and slides his arm up to the archway right behind me, pinning me against the stone as he stares into my eyes. I stare at him and see that maybe I really do care about him, but I remember my philosophies on love and I look away and walk towards the rain up the hill and on my way home. We finally reach the doorstep of his house, water droplets are dripping from our finger tips.
With those adventures that I’ll never forget as we fought over the best spots to just simply sit at will more than likely not be shared considering they’re indescribable to me. With him, all my seekings that seemed so obscure back home didn’t seem foreign to him. Better yet, he wanted the same. But now, they’re all just a form of memories embedded in our minds and hearts.
Now that I’m 2,940 miles away, I shoot him a text thanking him for sacrificing his time to show me around the city and blessing me with his presence (only because I know being nice to him pisses him off). Amusingly, he tells me it wasn’t a big deal and that he actually enjoyed being around me despite the fact we had a cynical, sardonic relationship. Even on opposite sides of the country, our oscillating relationship stays intact.
Keeping track of each other’s time zones has been quite simple considering he pulls all-nighters anyways. As we text each other for ten hours straight regularly, I still question as to why I put in effort to a friendship that will more than likely diminish or why I even waste my time on a self-absorbed, inconsiderate asshole like him. “I’ll make a new friend this summer and do stuff, and I can’t just leave you hanging. I could maybe see you again next year. I liked how you really wanted to see the not crowded and touristy parts of the city,” he told me. With his simple words that I know may be untrue, it still got me to believe that in the future, I can reunite with my adventure partner.
As time ticks by and we’re staying up with each other, conversing about ourselves and finding extreme interest in each other, I find that behind the shield of asshole is someone who doesn’t care much about anything else besides the lingering desire for genuine happiness. Happiness that isn’t found through something that’s materialistic or through a significant other, but through the wondrous miracles right in front of our eyes.
Too many people gaze into the starry sky being fascinated by an eternal unknown beautifying its grand vastness, but as I was standing on the black pavement right next to an open car door about to say goodbye, he attacks me with a hug, and I realize that the galaxy is within ourselves. An endless wonder that’s yet to be discovered. We can explore the world together and sightsee towering buildings and climb obscure trees, but exploring into each other’s galaxies sounds like a more intriguing adventure I’ll take any day.
Now, a week later, I realize that I’m not only missing the city, but I’m also missing the only person who forced me to toughen up in a city that almost led me to anxious tears. It’s not like we’re partners in crime or anything,;we’re just two people who enjoy seeking the most spontaneous areas with unexpected laughs. We’re discovering a world we both step foot on while also discovering another world within each other.