I was Jahan’s cover. A simple, “Ma, I’m going to Trina’s” would get her an unsuspected and uninterrupted 3-4 hours with Nob. And Nob felt like it was his obligation to get me some company while he and Jahan spent some “alone” time “together” in my room. So Nob would drag D along, almost as a thank-you present for introducing him to Jahan.
D and I– two people who did not want to associate with each other thrust into common human society. Our initial days were spent with D rolling joint after joint, as I shot him looks of disapproval and disgust while opening the windows to get rid of the musty smell of burning marijuana. I kept myself entertained with lining up songs on a playlist in the latest version of Media Player on Windows XP. There were only 3 things he could talk about, always, the same three things: football, LAN games and porn, so we didn’t make too much of an effort at human communication.
Over time though, I got used to the smell of weed. I even started identifying its pungent smell around teenagers at random street corners and alleys. I became less obsessive about opening the windows and turning up the volume on my speakers to drown out talk of Tyra Banks’ double-D boobs.
My apartment was on the 12th floor, overlooking two parallel flyovers slicing through the heart of the buzzing metropolis. There were cars honking impatiently to cut through rush hour traffic, lights blinking on and off madly in the darkened city, people screaming and swearing at each other and fighting to live another day, 12 floors down. But every evening, for a couple of hours, amidst Pink Floyd, and eagles and scorpions, and a mist of marijuana smoke, everything was at rest in that room. We would turn the lights off and life would come to a standstill. No one spoke, no one moved; no one looked at another in the pitch darkness. D and I– two cars parked next to each other on a dark desert highway, resting until it was time to go back and honk at rush hour traffic and madly turn headlights and tail lights and indicators on and off and fight to live another day, 12 floors down.
When the discordant lights were turned back on, and Jahan and Nob exchanged parting lust-gnaws, D and I would start conversations about the scent of teen spirit, the superstructure of institutionalised norms that put Alice in chains, and what our Paradise City would look like. The world was closing in, did you ever think that we would be so close like brothers? “Shine on, you crazy diamond. Good night.” I would text him before going to sleep.