Andy, It’s ‘Therapetic’
I’m standing in the early spring darkness: a day-for-night scene in the vein of those “Andy Griffith” episodes when they wanted to portray Mayberry by night but you could see the sun shining through the dark filters.
Our hosts have provided a keg of Busch and are keeping the late New Wave tunes cranking. Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance” has segued into Wang Chung’s “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” into Men At Work’s “Who Can It Be Now?”
I don’t know a lot of these people even though they’re members of the English Department, like me. But then, I’m beginning my dissertation, and so many of them are thinking only of whether they’ll take Master’s comps or write a thesis. I see my friend Steve talking to the woman he loves and who maybe loves him back, but then, she’s married so “who can it be now” indeed?
Like usual, I invited my roommate, Sean, a wild and worldly guy from Pittsburgh who spent the previous two years in Senegal under Peace Corps auspices. I didn’t know him before last fall, but I needed a roommate, and he seemed harmless. But he’s caused trouble at other parties, hitting on already-taken girls and causing one boyfriend to confront me:
“You better tell that roommate of yours to leave Joanna alone. She’s mine.”
As if Sean were “mine.”
Still, I like Sean; he’s a good late-night companion, and I don’t care whom he hits on as long as he leaves my face out of it. So I invited him again, for in another month I’ll be moving to a basement apartment across town and never see him for the rest of my life.
So as I’m observing Steve and listening to Van Halen’s “Jump” and wondering just who has taken over this time in my life, I see Sean coming, followed by a guy I’ve encountered before. A short guy with a combo peach-fuzz beard and upper-lip sneer. An obnoxious jerk even when he’s not drunk.
I give Sean a look.
He shrugs, half-grins, and whispers, “He followed me.”
Terry Barr writes about music and memory for culturemass.com, and his essays have appeared in Red Fez, Steel Toe Review, Bookends Review, and Hirschworth. He teaches Creative Nonfiction at Presbyterian College and live in Greenville, SC, with his wife and two daughters.