Fuck Buddy(2)By: Scott Hildreth
I sat down at the end of the couch. “So, how was surfing yesterday?”
San Diego’s population was 1.5 million, but even as populated as it was Luke was well-known as a surfer. He was better than almost everyone in southern California and without a doubt could surf professionally, but he refused to do so. To him, surfing was sacred and would never be turned into a sport or competition. Somewhat of a local celebrity – and the recipient of more offers from women than he could possibly act upon – he chose to be single immediately following the breakup with his one and only girlfriend. He was twenty years old at the time.
As much as he was able, Luke lived a life of solitude and kept to himself. I had been in and out of many relationships, none worth the time I devoted to them, and not a single one produced a fraction of the satisfaction my friendship with Luke did.
Outsiders viewed him as antisocial, withdrawn and unfriendly, but they didn’t know him the way I did. I understood why he was the way he was, and further knew him as being none of those things. Luke was kind, caring, funny, and wanted nothing more than to be allowed to live life in the manner he was comfortable with.
It didn’t matter if a person knew Luke well or simply encountered him by chance, everyone agreed.
Luke was different.
He stopped in front of me and began to peel one of the oranges while resting the other between his upper arm and chest. He glanced up, met my gaze, and caught me admiring the few day’s growth of beard on his face.
“First things first. The date, let’s hear it,” he said.
I did my best to change the subject. “I like the little beard thing you’ve got going on.”
“I haven’t had time to shave, it’ll be gone tomorrow,” he said dryly. “The date, Liv. Spill it.”
Although I found cottage cheese grotesque to look at or think about, I always enjoyed eating it. I stared blankly into my bowl as I considered how much of the previous night’s events I wished to share with him. The longer I studied the small curds, the less I wanted to eat it, and the more disgusted I became over my failed date. I set the bowl on the table and picked up my cup of coffee as he turned toward the kitchen. In a moment, he returned with both oranges peeled, separating one of them into sections as he glared at me.
I wrapped my hands around the warm porcelain cup and peered toward the bowl of spoiled milk curds. “Cottage cheese is so ugly.”
He slipped a section of fruit into his mouth, and upon swallowing it, cleared his throat as if to demand my attention. “The. Date.”
I raised the cup to my mouth and tilted my head back slightly as I took a drink. As I met his gaze, he pressed against the orange with both thumbs, pulled another section free, and poked it past his lips with the tip of his finger. As he chewed, he playfully tossed the uneaten orange into the air and caught in the other hand without shifting his eyes away from mine. Everything he did, he did with grace. I sometimes wondered if it was the martial arts his father made him study when we were kids or if it was the surfing that made his movements so fluid like. Whatever it was, I was grateful for it – watching him do almost anything was pleasurable.
Although I felt I needed to drink the entire cup of coffee, I lowered my cup and smiled. He cocked one eyebrow and pulled another section of orange free. I sighed heavily as if disgusted to talk about the date. To be brutally honest, I was.
“We met at the bar,” I said. “He was married, and I left after maybe twenty minutes.”
He widened his eyes as the side of his mouth curled up slightly. “That’s it? You texted me a fucking thesis last night and you’ve sworn off Tinder because of that?”
I stared blankly at his bare feet. Even his toes were perfect. I glanced at my feet. Little sausage-like stubs surrounded the tips of my sandals. I had a reasonable amount of self-esteem, and I was well aware that I was pretty, but there was no doubt my fat little toes would prevent me from joining Luke if he ever chose a career in modeling.
“Well, it was just, I don’t know. I think maybe I reached a point that all the lies and the bullshit were just too much. I’m sick of it. You know, every guy I met on there was a liar.”
He poked the last piece of fruit into his mouth. “You’re meeting people you don’t even know. Men who can claim to be anyone or anything. All they want is to get laid. What did you really expect?”
How about great sex and a wedding ring?
He walked to the kitchen and quickly returned, flopping down on the couch beside me. I sat and sipped my coffee, not sure if I even wanted to answer his question. I had tried online dating on and off for the last four years, and in the past year had been on no less than a dozen dates from my Tinder matches alone. From a relationship standpoint my life was an absolute disaster.