Friday, April 20, 2007

Graham and Sam

I haven't talked to my best friend Graham since right after Ali's father passed away. Before that, I'd not talked to him since college.

On the phone last night: "Sam, you realize I was so in love with you in college right? You might have been the only girl I was ever that in love with."

Oy vey.

Graham and I met at a Delta Chi party two days before freshman year of college began. Ali and I had met at orientation and were insta-best friends. We went to our first fraternity party together that night. A cute blond boy who resembled Anthony Michael Hall circa NYPD Blue started talking to us. He was rushing Delta Chi. His name was Graham.

We became friends that night and started going out with him and a couple other guys who were rushing than pledging Delta Chi. Graham and I talked on the phone every night about everything. We met in the coffee shop on campus for breakfast or lunch or dinner. We were basically attached.

Once he moved into Delta Chi second semester, I would happily stay in his room if I was drunk and couldn't drive home, and he'd stay at Chi O with me if the same was true of him being near me. This continued all the way through sophomore year. Girls he dated couldn't stand me being around, and guys I dated couldn't stand him. It was a pseudo-boyfriendship. My first of many in my life.

My parents came in town, and he came out with us. I was driving in Graham's car with my parents following behind on the way to dinner. My dad, to this day, laughed when he saw the bumper sticker on Graham's car, "Orgasm Donor."

Graham and Sam. Sam and Graham. For the first two years of college, that was something I was used to hearing daily.

The only problem was that Graham had feelings for me. I knew this, but I chose to avoid the issue.

The first blow up happened Junior year. Graham sort of told me how he felt on my 21st birthday. I chose to pretend I didn't remember, because I was so drunk that night. Then, he came over one night for a game of poker and crashed in my bed. We overheard my roommate having sex. He tossed and turned a bit. Finally, he stood up and said, "Sam, you need to decide if you want me in your bed or not. End of the story."

He got up and left. I followed him out to his car. "No, don't go. Really? You're going."

Our friendship was hanging on a thread. I tried my best to call and see him more. It didn't really work. We stopped talking for several months. He began dating Kim. Kim hated me for obvious reasons.

On my 22nd birthday, I went to Delta Chi to hang out with my friends there. Graham was there. He walked me to Lyss's car. My friends and I were all going to Niagra Falls the next day for the weekend. I had invited him to come. I had decided, "Maybe I do want Graham in my bed. Maybe."

Drunk outside of Delta Chi in the parking lot, Graham was leaning against his car. "What's going on?" he asked me. "Let's do this. Why haven't we done this? I mean, how do we even know?" I asked him. "Sam, you're drunk. I don't want this to happen drunk. Besides, I have a girlfriend now. It might be too late."

The next morning, I didn't call Graham. I didn't show up to pick him up. I went to Niagra Falls without him. We stopped talking for several months again.

By second semester senior year, we were on slight speaking terms again. Kim was always a complete bitch to me. I found out later he'd told her, "don't worry about Sam. She finally said she wanted me, and I turned her down for you." Yeah, that was going to make the girl stop hating me. Guys are such morons sometimes.

We graduated and lost touch. After Ali's dad died, I called all of our close friends from college to arrange having them at the funeral. It was the only thing I could give her for her loss- my ability to gather the troupes. I called Louie for Ryan's number and Ryan for Graham's number. I wanted to talk to Graham.

"Sam! Well, I'm in Providence now in law school. Kim and I are engaged. How are you? Last I heard, you were living with some guy in New York." At the time, I was living with Jerk.

I called him a couple times here and there. We played phone tag more than anything else.

Then, I finally started using my MySpace account. My friend Pam (a good friend of Graham's. Yes, at times it was Sam, Pam, and Graham hanging out. I know.) messaged me through MySpace that she was married to her college boyfriend, running a magazine in Naples, and happy. "Oh, and have you spoken to Craka (we called him that for obvious reasons)? Kim and him are done. Woohoo! Call him!"

So, I called and emailed Graham. We played phone tag some more. Nothin' back.

Saturday, I got a MySpace message from him: "I haven't checked this in months. My father passed away. Kim and I split. She took my Grandma's heirloom ring. I dropped out of law school. Call me. Been too long. Number's the same."

Last night, we caught up. Finally. "You still mumble! Man, I forgot how you mumble!" "Are you still staying up for days and then popping Tylenol PM by the thousands?" "Wait, you're not a size 0 anymore. Thank goodness. You were emaciated." He's coming to Ali's wedding with me in August. Ali this morning on the phone, "wow. You know you both always had sexual tension, right?" I don't know. Who really ever knows. We were best friends. I think I'm just happy to have my best friend back. Sam and Graham. Graham and Sam. Generic packages are never quite the same as the original. Ingredients always seem to be missing.


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