Sunday, April 26, 2009

A cold drink: Root Beer

I met Flyboy through one of my roommates when I started college. My roommate had an obsession with cleaning and organizing. I guess it comes from having a father who was drill sgt in the army. On the one hand, it was kind of nice having a clean roommate; it balanced out our other roommate who was messy pig! Still, my cleaning roommate was a neatfreak. I'd come home from school or work, tired, kick my shoes off by the door, then flop on the couch for a break. Cleaner would come in a few minutes later, pick up my discarded shoes, then place them next to the sofa where I was laying. I'd vacuum the floors in the morning, and he'd do the same that afternoon, as if somehow, I didn't vacuum right; whatever, it kept the floors clean and I like clean floors!

Cleaner was joining a fraternity, and he tried to get me to pledge. I'm not the fraternity type. But that's how I met Flyboy. Flyboy was one of Cleaner's fellow pledges; a few of them used to come around the apt when we had parties or just to hang out. The second semester, Flyboy and I ended up in the same biology lab. We became lab partners and started hanging out more. He came by the apt so much that I started stocking up on root beer, because that was his favorite drink. At the apt, Cleaner and Flyboy would start preaching about the benefits of joining a fraternity and all the connections that come with being a member. I'd tease them, "I don't need to buy friends. The best ones are free!"

I just thought it was silly to pay a lot of money to be a part of an exclusive organization that promised brotherhood and fun. You can get that for free. Still, it was a quick way to make friends if you had problems reaching out to new people. If you like fraternities, then go for it. It just wasn't for me. I've had my fill of exclusive cliques and clubs to know that I don't like being told what to think or what I could or could not do.

Cleaner and Flyboy's fraternity was amazingly very well mannered. Actually, they reminded me of the boybands who were popular at the time--so clean cut, so preppy, so unbelievably boring! Okay, so they took trips to the see their other frat brothers in the bigger colleges; they held mixers when only fraternity and sorority members could attend. But by and large, they reminded me of Stepford wives, everything so planned out and limited and proper. When Spring Break came around, the fraternity decided on a ski trip to Colorado. Now, Spring Break is traditionally the time college students take a break from midterms and freezing weather and head south to the beaches to tan, party, go crazy and have a good time.

Cleaner was gung ho about skiing; but I could tell Flyboy wasn't so enthusiastic. So, I told him that a few friends and I were heading down south, just a few hours to one of the biggest Spring Break hot spots. It was miles of beach filled with hot bodies from all over. Flyboy looked interested, and I invited him to join our little group. Besides, we'd be near a border town, cross into Mexico where the legal drinking age was significantly lower than the US. That settled it. Flyboy joined us that week, and I introduced him to Flash and Crunch. We had a blast that week on the beaches and bars, on both sides of the border. By the time we came back to school, we had formed a solid bond.

Come the end of the first year in college, Flyboy was hanging out with us a lot, usually at the apt or the beach or the clubs. That summer, I moved to a different apt. Cleaner went back home, because he wasn't really happy with his college experience. It wasn't what he expected. He wanted to try a different school, and I wished him luck. Flyboy was still active in his fraternity, but I could tell that he did this out of obligation; he'd rather hang out with us. Flyboy had a wild, rebellious side underneath the preppy, good boy image, and with us, he was free to enjoy that side of himself.

Flyboy is the middle son of a wealthy family with pedigree and history. He was expected to graduate from college, join the family business, marry an appropriate girl, and raise the next generation. His oldest brother had all ready done so, ensuring the family line would continue. I guess that's what afforded Flyboy some leeway in coming to a smaller college and not the traditional bigger, more well known universities his family had attended. I imagined it was must've been hard to keep up appearances when he went home for breaks. He always seemed depressed, having to hide who he was becoming during his time in college. He enjoyed the freedom (and distance) college provided. But when he graduated, he followed the path of his family, marrying a sorority girl he had been dating that last year in school. I never liked her, as she seemed so snobby, looking down on us as bad influences on Flyboy; nevermind that we didn't have the right connections or family or wealth. Still, we tried to be polite and not bad mouth her in Flyboy's presence. We wished him well.

It would seem that Flyboy's life was set. But that was not to be. His marriage didn't last a year. He ditched the family business and followed his own dreams. He joined the military and became a fighter pilot; that's why I call him Flyboy. He's been doing this for years now, yet I still can't help but worry about his safety. It's why we hadn't seen him in over a year; he'd been deployed overseas, living off a large naval carrier. But he seemed happier. He was doing what he wanted to do, living his own life. His immediate family was shocked and a little resistant to his new life. But they've come around. It helps when the matriarch of the family, his grandmother, is a big supporter of the military, having lost two brothers in the Korean War. Her father was a WW2 veteran. And it is nice to have a war hero in the family. But what's even better is having Flyboy back, the four of together again just like the old days, when we were young, dumb, and full of fun.

"So, Flyboy," said Flash, "how did it go with your chick?"

Now it was Flyboy's turn to tell us what had happened the night before. Flyboy drank his root beer then said, "Well, nothing really happened with her."

"Oh, did you just go home?," asked Crunch.

"Not right away," said Flyboy,"When we got to her place, she took me to her room and we started making out. We started taking off our clothes and right after she took off her top, she got off the bed real quick and stumbled towards the bathroom. I could hear her throwing up in the toilet."

"Awww, that's just fantastic!," I said,"Isn't that just a sexy sound, blaaahhhh." We laughed at that.

"So what did you do?," asked Flash.

"Well," replied Flyboy,"I went in after her to make she was all right, ya know? Maybe hold her hair back for her." We laughed at that.

"Because you're an officer and a gentleman!," I said.

"Of course," said Flyboy. We laughed some more as Flyboy continued,"So after that, I helped her back to the bed, where she passed out. I made sure to turn her head before I left, that way she won't choke her own vomit if she threw up again."

"Nice," said Crunch,"You are a gentleman!"

We laughed again as Flyboy narrated, "I figured I'd call a cab and go home. But I was thirsty, so I headed into the kitchen to look for something to drink. And that's when I ran into her mother."

"Oh," said Flash,"Awkward."

"Yeah," said Flyboy,"it was awkward, trying to explain to her who I was and what I was doing in the house. But after telling her that I just finished putting her daughter back to bed after what had happened, she seemed to relax. Then she said that her daughter sometimes drank more than she should. I thought that was funny, coming from the mother who was drinking from a bottle of wine. She offered me a glass. We started chitchatting, and the next thing I know, she started hitting on me."

"What?,"asked Flash,"So what did you do?"

"Well, I just went for it," said Flyboy. We laughed at that.

"Dude," said Crunch,"You were attacked by a cougar! Rrrroarrr!". We laughed at that some more.

"I thought I smelled patchouli," joked Flash.

Flyboy laughed,"I'd prefer to think of it as her way of thanking me for taking care of her daughter."

"So she took care of you in return! How courteous of her,"I replied,"Such exquisite manners are so rare these days! Truly you were in the presence of a lady, which makes you the tramp!"

"Woof! Woof!," said Flyboy,"We did go at it like dogs."

That got another round of laughter. It's been too long since we had this kind of fun, too long since we shared each other's company and twisted sense of humor. Sometimes, boys just need to be boys. I was glad that Flyboy took a weekend out just come hang out with us, and I was glad to be in the company of my friends after so long.

Years ago, when we got near graduation, I was worried about Flyboy coming to terms with what was expected of him. I wasn't sure if he would be happy, giving up his dreams and subduing his identity for the sake of his family. And for a while, he succeeded in suppressing his true nature. But I was so glad to see him embrace his true self, going after his dreams, living out his own life, even if it meant going against his family. But he did it, and I was happy for him. Of course, his job is dangerous, always entwined with the possibility of death; but had he forsaken his true nature and lived a life not of his own choosing, wouldn't that be death as well? We all die eventually. But it's how we live that truly matters, and right now, being with great friends makes life a truly spectacular, wonderful experience. Live in the moment, for as long as you can. Time moves on with or without us, and you never know where life will take you next.


  1. "But it's how we live that truly matters, and right now, being with great friends makes life a truly spectacular, wonderful experience. Live in the moment, for as long as you can. Time moves on with or without us, and you never know where life will take you next."You are wise beyond your years, my friend. Enjoy your friends whenever you can... you never know when one (or you) may not be there. You're a special guy, Eros. ((hugs))

  2. Ponita, let's make an Eros sandwich!

    I get to hug him from the front and you go 'round the back.

  3. I think we'll have to rotate him a few times, MJ. Can't have you hogging the front all the time...

  4. Ponita, Thanks! You're pretty special, too, because you also realize the importance of celebrating friendships!

    MJ, I like sandwiches...mmmmm...

    Ponita, I feel like a ride at an amusement park; everyone gets a turn!

  5. Can I be the dressing in the sandwich...?
    And I'm quite happy to ride a roller coaster....

  6. Scarlet B, The more the merrier! Welcome to the amusement park! Enjoy the rides!

  7. Nice mom! Oh man, what a scene. I thought no one could have had an experience stranger than you had, but it seems your friends all had wild times too!

  8. Snooze, The only thing better than having a wild time is living to tell the story with good friends who understand.

    I'm not sure who had the strangest experience; but we did learn to never judge a book by it's cover! Things aren't always what they seem.