I notice it most on the rare occasions where T and I are hanging out with a larger-than-normal group of people (and by our standards, “larger-than-normal” really just means it’s not just me and her romantically day-drinking Bloody Marys in the middle of a sunny weekday afternoon): someone will say something that is immediately found mildly scandalous by no one else but ourselves and, like some kind of invisible, inner magnetic reaction, our eyes will slowly shift focus and meet for the briefest of seconds. She’ll subtly twitch her lips, I’ll arch one of my bush-man eyebrows by half a centimeter. And in that second, we’ll have had an entire conversation that goes a little something like this:
Her: WHAT THE FUCK.
Her: That was some fucking bullshit.
Me: I know, I kind of want to say something but I feel like that would just start shit.
Her: Yeah, we probably shouldn’t. We don’t wanna burn any bridges.
Me: But, at the same time….LET ‘EM BUUUUURN!
Our friendship – and I think pretty much every best friendship – is full of these little moments of secret communication. From the various and multifaceted non-verbal cues that allow us to rail against the asshole clipping his toenails right across from us on the bus (WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS? WHY?), to the uncountable inside jokes that probably make us kind of obnoxious and annoying (but ADORABLE!) to hang out with, T and I have come to speak almost exclusively in our own ever-evolving code. A code in which:
We refer to ourselves in the first-person plural.
We don’t want to burn any bridges. Are we hungry? (Yes. Yes we are.) How do we feel about this candle with the suspicious smell? Because we are one, you guys – our love has become full-blown Aristotle that one time when he said that shit about a single soul dwelling in two bodies, or whatever the crap. We can’t go more than a week without seeing each other because then we’re just walking around with this scary phantom-limb kind of feeling, and we absolutely take to heart (with violent, merciless tenacity) the sentiment that if you hurt one of us, you hurt both of us. Whatever happens to your boo, happens to you.
We know all of each other’s “tells.”
When T straightens up in her seat and puts her palm out in front of her mid-sentence, I know I’m in for an excellent story in which she verbally beats the shit out of some ignorant, ill-informed bag of fucks. And when I close my eyes and put my palms together like I’m about to say some depraved, obscenity-filled prayer and interrupt my own sentence with an abrupt and pointed, “Mmph!” she knows she’s in for the same thing. I know which of her laughs is genuine, and which is a “HAH, don’t make me laugh with your dumbass theory, motherfucker” laugh. She knows to warm people that when I start ticking off my points disjointedly with my fingers (“You’re a waste of atoms, number one. Number two….”), I have reached black-out rage. At the risk of sounding like a really terrible song that Barry Manilow would probably sing, it’s an awesome, wonderful feeling to be understood on this level where speech is basically unnecessary (but brings added hilarity, because obscenities).
We go with each other’s “bits.”
If T is suddenly granted the small miracle of finding a parking spot in one of the busiest neighborhoods in the city, and she starts singing, “WAAATCH ME PARK THIS BIIITCH!” while she parallel parks, I am GUARANTEED to be the fist-pumping, dwarfish idiot next to her in the passenger seat tunelessly vocalizing, “BOOOOOO’S GOT IT DOOOOWN!” (True story, btw.) We’re never without a comeback for each other, we never leave each other hanging (even if it means diving nose-first into the aforementioned suspicious-smelling candle when T asks if we like it), and we always, ALWAYS, match each other’s diction – even when it makes us sound slightly unhinged. Like this:
We irrationally hate other people when the other one isn’t there and we come to the depressing realization that no one really understands us the same way.
When I laugh like a 12-year-old boy about a book called The Story of Hong Gildong (heh heh heh DONG!) and the people I’m with just roll their eyes, my immediate thought process is something like, “FUCK YOU GUYS, BOO WOULD’VE LAUGHED. I’LL TEXT HER A PICTURE OF IT RIGHT NOW. YOU’LL SEE. YOU’LL AAAAAALL SEE!” And when the chick ahead of me in line pronounces it, “Thank YAW!” and I can’t scratch the itch of my irritation by giving T a pointed look, it becomes glaringly apparent that a world without boo is a pretty lonely one. Thankfully, we’re in this for the long-haul….which means I’ll always have someone to laugh at sexual puns with right into little old-ladyhood, in between competing with her in our very own two-person cane olympics. It’s going to be a glorious life, indeed