We’ve been best friends since childhood; but, I never learn an address of the Broker’s. I know in six months it will change. I also, never memorize a phone number. I know in six weeks it will change. Stability is unnatural for the Broker’s, much like the hair color on Ashley’s head. The only thing stable about this household is their gypsy persona.
“Text me the address.”
“Ok, see you soon.”
Our phone calls are short. Always.
Ashley: the only friendship I have been able to destroy and repair multiple times. I guess that means this is the only friendship I have been able to maintain. I’ve never been the girl who gets along with everyone. I’ve always been the one to say the words you do not want to hear. I act on impulse and the consequences of those impulsive actions result in a small group of friends. Aside from that, I get screwed over a lot.
I have arrived.
When I get to the door I don’t bother to knock. I pull the spare key hidden form inside the bushes and let myself in. At this point in my life the Broker’s are more my family than any other. This is as much my home as it is theirs; proven with my toothbrush left in the bathroom upstairs.
Isabella is already there talking and the two girls are sitting on the floor of the room fixing themselves up in preparation for whatever it is we will be doing later that evening.
Isabella is chatty.
“Mamas! Como estas?”
“Bien, amiga. Y tu?”
“Bien, bonita. Gracias.”
At times I envy her. Isabella leads a double life. She has the one here in California. She has me, Ashley, and Devon. Here in California she is single. Here she drinks, smokes, parties. But, she also has Mexico. There she has romance, education, and stability. When one life turns upside down she turns to the other: Cali to Mexico, Mexico to Cali. I’m jealous. I envy her ability to be two separate people. I can hardly stand pretending to just be me, yet alone pushing the personalities of two separate individuals.
Devon is also coming. It has always been the four of us. We each have other friends that have come and gone but when push comes to shove no relationship bond has been stronger than us girls.
It is very typical of us to meet at the Broker’s. Denise, Ashley’s mother, is more of a friend. Unlike our own families we do not have to pretend to be anything other than the rebellious disappointments that we are. Sitting in a row we have the almost didn’t graduate from highschool, falls in love with every man she meets, tongue piercing, and soon joining us left home at seventeen. We each have our character flaws. The problem is, every time we go home we are reminded of them. Every time we go to the Broker’s, they are embraced.
Devon called Ashley.
“You bitches ready?”
“Yeah, where are you?”
“I’m outside, let’s go.”
“Mike is having a bonfire out in Thousand Palms.”
None of us really knew the guy. Ashley might have met him once before. Isabella and I looked at each other shook our heads in agreement and began to walk out of the door. It is common for us to end up at a party of a friend’s friend’s friend or at a biker bar in the middle of nowhere signing karaoke drunkenly. At the beginning of the day we do not know where we will end up. The only person is hesitant about this group characteristic is Isabella. The rest of us are fearless, never afraid to step into the unknown. Not knowing how a night will end up is the reason why I continue to engage in these exertions. It is the next best thing to being on the top of the mountain. Each time I get wasted, I get closer to god.
Devon is all country. She’s wearing her short denim skirt with a cowgirl hat and boots. The music blasting is Kenny Chesney and I just have the biggest feeling that Mike is very similar. I’ve never been a fan and that is obvious just by looking at how oppositely I am dressed from Devon. We often but heads because of our opposing political views and likes/dislikes; but, after a couple shots of tequila those differences seem to fade. Suddenly we are confessing our love on the front steps of a bar entrance waiting for a cab.
“So who is this Mike?” Isabella asks.
“Just a guy I met through Brandon’s cousin Sam.”
Just as I thought, none of us really know Mike and the only person interested in knowing him is Isabella.
When we arrive the sun is setting. We are in Thousand Palms in the middle of nothing and nowhere. This beautiful home in the middle of the desert is outlined with an orange glow from the fire burning in the backyard. We walk through the sand towards the back of the ranch style home. The bonfire is burning far above my head and its beauty is mesmerizing. I sat down and watched it in silence as my girls poured drinks and talked to cowboys.
These are not the people I typically like to associate with. Talk about guns and Budweiser is exchanged among those sitting around the fire. I just came for the beer, the food, and my girls support. Isabella hands me two cups. One of which was filled with a shot of tequila. I look at her with eyes of sincerity and said “Thank you.” There is nothing more that I need than the feeling of lightheadedness, escape.
Silently, I observe all the people. There is about thirty of us all talking at once. As the sun slowly drops behind the captivating valley walls it quickly turns to darkness, leaving us with only the light of fire illuminating our faces. The night, however, is still young.
Across the fire I see a man unlike all the others. Dark eyes, olive skin, and long black hair that spiraled. He was bohemian, not country. He was artistic and had a spirit more free than any other man sitting around the fire. Playing a quiet tune on the guitar that did not match the country blasting sound in the background. I stared at him from a distance, noting his smooth movement and calm demeanor. That was until I decided to approach him.
That was all we needed to say to each other. When looking each other in the eyes it was obvious that we were both unlike all the others sitting and drinking around the fire. He continued to play and I continued to listen for a few moments.
“Would you like a drink” he said.
“Love one.” I responded
I followed him into the kitchen. In a typical red cup he poured gin and tonic.
“Never thought I would see such a drink here, I was only expecting Bud light.” –I said
“I brought my own. I know Mike too well to know he’d have anything other than cheap beer.”
Silently I was trying to guess how such an unrestricted man would know a guy like Mike. He responded to my puzzled look, almost as if he knew exactly what I was thinking.
“He’s my brother… Mike. I’m Damien.”
“Nice to meet you, Damien. I’m Leigha.”
One drink led to two, two to three, three to his bedroom where we irresponsibly slept together until the sun came back up from behind the mountains.