"That's all quatsch," Lou says in the backseat of my car. "All of it. They're making it up."
"He's right, I'm serious, Lou. That all really happened."
"No, it did not."
"It did too!"
"It did not—"
"BOTH OF YOU, hush!"
I shout to get their attention. I swear, sometimes I really can't believe they're twenty-four and twenty-five and about to get married; they're still the exact same thirteen-year-olds they were when the four of us first started hanging out. Anyway—
"You see what's happening here, right? We're not supposed to know whether it really happened. That's what it's about, right? Reality is a very slippery concept. You know who Maya is, don't you?"
"Creepy-ass demon chick," says Pete.
"A goddess," says Roger, shaking his head mournfully.
"It's a Sanskrit term for illusion. Deception.Things that aren't what they claim to be—like that yogurt. I mean, when you think about it—isn't this basically a story about the nature of addiction? Being an addict is basically being in hell, and Maya was the manager of hell. And you got stuck there, and horrible stuff happened, but she made you think you wanted her, and she alone held the keys to get out. But it was love that showed you the real way out. I mean, the butterfly, and—cheeses, which, come on, sounds suspiciously like Jesus. You had to run to it to find the answer. And in the end, the only thing that set you free was admitting you had been wrong, and then acting unselfishly. I mean, that's, like, the path to freedom from addiction—right?"
Roger's staring blankly at me. He shrugs his shoulders and flicks a cigarette butt out the car window.
"Hm, well. Maybe you're right, then, Mith," Lou says to me. "Maybe it all really did happen. There's no way that these two could have concocted with a story like that, with all that concealed meaning."
"Yeah, I told you."
"I don't know," I concede. "I'm probably just reading way too much into it." As I always do with everything.
"Yeah, I mean, it was just a bunch of creepy shit," Pete says. "Like, Stephen King 1408 shit. Like, why would you bleed mayonnaise from your face?"
"I'm craving one of those crackers now, do we still have some?"
"Shit, I dunno, girl, but I'm not buying you any more again, ever."
"Oh, quiet, or I'll call off the wedding!" Teasing, Lou leans across the back seat and shoves Pete in the shoulder. He shoves her gently back.
"Like hell you will!"
"I'll desert you at the altar. I'll be a runaway bride."
"Like you could run away from all this!"
They're cuddling in the back seat now, giggling and being sickeningly cute. Roger and I exchange a look, and I roll my eyes. He lights up another cigarette.
In any case, I don't particularly feel quite so much like buying wine anymore. I start the car, and the music comes back on as I drive out of the parking space; I hit the button on my stereo twice to switch the track.
Hearing the first twangy notes of the catchy guitar line, I feel myself start to grin.
"Oh, hell yes! Mith, crank it! Lou, it's our jam!"
"Shit, not this song," Roger mutters.
I crank it. And bust out laughing as the Crazytown guy starts to rap: Come my lady, come come my lady…
Well, that's the story, anyway. I'm not going to bother trying to figure out if I should believe it or not. I know what I need to have faith in, and the rest, well, just take it or leave it. I'm frankly tired of thinking so much.