Charlie is a compilation of interests and identities, a destination that is constantly changing. While he clings to his house like an ancient sponge, I’ve discovered-after prying him off the couch-how every night I spend in his company dissolves into an infinite collage of moments. The memories blend together in cherished bursts, strung together with spontaneity and unending faith. They are fleeting milliseconds I need to remember
That particular night, we saw a Pixar movie. Somehow, in less than two hours, Charlie had managed to devour a cheery Slurpee, large popcorn, and a box of Mike and Ikes. Unsurprisingly, he was not interested in dinner, while I was completely famished. As usual, we were at opposite vantage points, trying to find a way to meet. But, Charlie is never full for long, and I wanted to choose our destination well. For, I was exhausted of my dullness, of being a wilted flower who never saw the rain. I needed to take him somewhere I understood, a place where I could discredit my fragility. For once, I wanted to emulate my best friend. So I took him to my favorite bakery.
The thing about Charlie is that he has so much more life than me. I wait, he explores. I hesitate, he leaps. I fall, he flies. Our camaraderie allows for a tranquil balance, as I am an introvert who craves extroversion, and Charlie is an extrovert who despises the human race.
We talked about the musical Cabaret on the way to the bakery, concentrating on its extraordinary symbolism. Like Clifford, I was worrying about existing in a stupor, only awakening for the briefest of moments. In contrast, like the Emcee, Charlie is most certainly awake, though he often wishes to slumber. Yet, our reasons for conversing are rarely so complex. To put it simply, I love books and he loves musicals; our uniquely similar passions allow us understand each other’s motivations while exploring our dissimilar philosophy’s.
The most astounding aspect of Cabaret was that it mirrored Charlie himself, because nothing was as it seemed. Like the songs, the moments in his presence felt like filler, but led up to this incredible whole, full of emotion and possibility. Charlie was the show, prized and often misunderstood. He is shrouded in mystery and revealed with time. But even as I have this revelation, we reach the bakery, and it’s Charlie’s turn to change his perception.
I loved this bakery. The pastries were mediocre, but the comfort was not. I had never seen such an assortment of pastries, and the sight gave me an incredible rush. I had been going there since I was a little girl because there was no place like it. It was authentic in the best way possible, holding tables inside and out to watch the night change. The air was charged with sugar, infusing the chilly air with phantom warmth. Each glass case was perfectly polished in the center, while the edges were stained with the fingerprints of overeager children and adults. A soft serve machine stood lonely in the corner, as it was too familiar for such a spectacular sight. Ultimately, Astoria Bakery was a place of dreams, where family, pastries, and friends met in perfect harmony.
Charlie approached the counter with trepidation and wide eyes, muttering
“I hate you, I hate you; I hate you. You love causing me problems don’t you?” under his breath.
I heard anyway and laughed-he was right, I knew he was trying to lose weight. The guy behind the counter seemed both perplexed and confused by our bizarre dynamic; the special breed of friends who are always honest with each other, the breed who will sacrifice happiness for the truth. Comfort was not an important factor in our relationship.
Charlie eventually decided on a cronut, and I on a coconut crème pie. Considering I was familiar with the stuff of dessert dreams, feeling no fear, I knew that the cheesecake was bland and the pies were delectable. I knew which donuts would tingle my taste buds and which ones would leave me retching. Sometimes even Charlie remains a mystery, but sugar is perfectly understood in the feeble fabric of my mind.
My name is Amelia. I am a girl obsessed with the sweetest parts of the world, terrified of acknowledging the bitter. I am a girl scared of picking from an unfamiliar line of pastries, where I am unable to discern the sour choices. I am a girl who fears uncertainty and revels in the known. Charlie understands, as he tries to help me embrace the ethereal. But I fear that it is too late to change my destination. For, I am only safe in places like Astoria, a dream catcher that eliminates nightmares. Charlie is able to drive away, go anywhere at any time, while I remain stuck. Like an ancient sponge stuck in the same old destinations. So, as the night comes to a close, I ask Charlie,
“Is it too late to change?” and I hear the faintest whisper in response, “Only if you choose the same pastry next time”.