From Brian’s headphones, I hear him listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Songs like Monarchy of Roses and Annie Wants a Baby and Meet Me At The Corner, all of them from their I’m With You album. When I ask him about this he denies it.
I don’t like that he’s listening to these songs, but there’s also a comfort to this. Last time I was alone in these thoughts, but this time I have him. Brian takes an interest in whatever is going on inside my head, and outside of it.
“Have you contacted Annie at all?” he asks me. “Have you tried to talk to her since that night in the car?”
“How do you know she’s trans?”
“I don’t know. She’s probably not.”
Brian looks to his fingers before asking—
“So why did you make her trans?”
“I don’t know.”
Brian nods, but the way he nods, I know he knows. I know he knows I’m lying.
Of course I know why I made the Annie character transition to a man. I could’ve told him but I don’t. I could’ve told him it’s because he reminds me of Annie. That in a way, he’s replaced Annie. That he was the only way I could complete her story. I could’ve told him that although everything changes, nothing really changes at all. Friends come and go, but the friends that come simply replace the ones that go. They might as well be the same person.
If I look at the texts from early on in our friendship, I’ll see texts very similar to those texts five years ago between Annie and myself.
Texts such as “meet me at the corner?” followed by our meetings at said corner, followed by our long nighttime walks to anywhere, a platonic love that goes nowhere.
With Brian playing the role Annie relinquished, filling her gap, it’s weird to think that she’s still out there, someone else replacing me.
But at the same time, Brian’s interest in Annie defines his role as someone outside of Annie. “So I was thinking more about your ending,” he says. “The ending is no good.”
“Yes. You’ve said this.”
“Yeah. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s sad. And sad is okay for the story, but not okay for your life.”
“It’s just a story though.”
“Right. But if you don’t come up with a new ending now, or soon, that ending will become true, it’ll be you. You’ll get married into a life with kids and a mortgage and always you will think of Annie and you’ll be trapped. And it’s not a matter of you not loving your future wife, whoever she may be, but you will always doubt your love for her because there’ll always be Annie.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re saying Annie will transition to a man?”
“No, that part is bullshit. I’m saying you’ll never be happy unless you create an ending that’s not in your head.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“That you find Annie.”
“Oh,” I say. “Good.” Because now I understand. Now I understand the role that Brian is playing. I think Brian might be the Devil.
join man next week for journal #28 (which involves the death of Queen Jane)