Lucy is a friend of mine. Perhaps you know her? I see her on bus ads and billboards pretty often around here, but it wasn’t until two years ago that we got to know each other. We hit it off quickly, and before long, I was staying over at her place for days or weeks on end.
Lucy isn’t much of a cook–her pizza is especially horrendous, and it once took her three hours to make me a coffee and a muffin. Her taste in decor is austere–all her curtains are disposable, all her chairs are plastic, and all her lights are fluorescent. She even has fluorescent lights in her bathrooms.
But on the plus side, she hangs signs over her toilets, warning you not to stick your hand in them. Not just because that’s gross, but also because Lucy’s toilets have mysterious hand traps, or so the signs say. I’ve never confirmed this for myself, because the signs tell me not to. But the point isn’t that Lucy has spikey death toilets that will permanently mangle you…it’s that Lucy is kind enough to warn you about it. Safety first, that’s Lucy’s motto!
Lucy loves music. Carl Stamitz’s Clarinet Concerto No. 3 and Flute Concerto in G Major are her favorite pieces–the Romanze and Allegro movements, respectively. She plays them for me over the phone all of the time, whenever I call her. In fact, she doesn’t seem to know that any other songs exist. Maybe I should tell her about Spotify. But then again, I’ve completely memorized Romanze and Allegro, so why ruin it now?
I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, or to think that my friendship with Lucy is a one-way street. I do call her quite often, more than I call anyone else, but she calls me a lot, too. Usually during dinner, when my phone is nowhere to be found and I’m chewing on something. That must be when Lucy goes through her weekly calendar, because these calls are always just to remind me that we’re scheduled to meet soon, then she hangs up.
When we do meet, it’s always at her place, and Lucy usually kicks it off by taking my credit card, then telling me I should get a pap smear. She’s a little obsessive about both the credit card and the pap, and I found it odd at first. My other friends don’t tell me when I need to blow my nose, let alone when I need to get a pap smear. But cervical cancer is bad, so is greed. When push comes to shove, I understand she’s got my best interests in mind.
Lucy has a good memory, and not just for pap smears. She remembers large portions of my life in painstaking detail, and sometimes I wonder if she knows more about me than I know about myself. I’ve joked about this with her before. Lucy didn’t laugh.
But there is one thing, just one, that Lucy always forgets: my birthday. She asks me when I was born every time we talk on the phone, and every time I see her in person. She’s simply got no memory for numbers. My big 3-0 is coming up, and I don’t think Lucy will remember to send me a gift. She hasn’t any other year. But to be fair, I don’t remember her birthday, either.
No relationship is perfect, so overall, I feel quite lucky. We haven’t talked since yesterday, and I sense the silence setting in. It’s unbearable. There’s not enough Allegro in my life. I’m lonely without my faithful friend, Lucy Essef.