Chapter 4: Having Faith
Faith was probably a good name for her, as thatís pretty much all she had to get by on lately. Being involved with Pete and I didnít really help matters. She was laying on the crabgrass in front of her house, arms spread out like a cross. A lit cigarette was burning its way down towards her fingers as she absentmindedly flicked the ashes off before bending her arm, bringing the cancer stick to her lips.
Faith refused to call them cigarettes. She said you might as well be truthful - lying about it, or hiding something with words wasnít going to make it not happen. ĎChallengedí people werenít challenged. They were just deal a shitty deck in life. Saying they were challenged wasnít going to make them walk again, or increase their IQ. There were the litany of words that the new politically correct movement had begun to push that Faith refused to use.
I asked her once what the big deal was.
"My parents said they were Ďseparating.í They should have just told the truth and said they were breaking up and quitting each other. If someone is fucked, say theyíre fucked. Donít minimize it - it trivializes the importance of something."
I decided that she probably had a point.
Like some kind of fountain, a blue-gray cloud of smoke trailed up from Faithís lips as she lay on the grass, her arm casually falling back into position in the cross. She watched it raise up and dissipate, watching as the marshmallow white clouds higher above drifted by. Brown hair, dark enough to look black, spilled out, trailing through the short, burly grass as her chest slowly rose and fell.
She didnít bother moving as Pete pulled up to the curb, so he killed the engine and I began to open my door.
I had met Faith siting on the couch at a party, in the midst of playing a game of bong Mexican. Jackie had just passed me double twos, and I rolled on them. Faith softly sat down next to me as I lifted the cup, seeing a three and a two.
"Double Threes," I smiled, passing the cup to Yancy.
"Lift it up. He didnít get it." Faith suddenly said.
We all looked at her, questioningly, as Yancy lifted up the cup, calling me on my bluff, as Faith took the bong and passed it to me.
"I like a man who can admit his mistakes."
I decided then that I didnít care much for her. Three months later, we were dating. Six months after that we had broken up.
"Dude. DUDE!" Pete was poking me. "Give me another burger, man."
Pete was grinning wildly, that half clownish, half crazy look he always got when in the midst of a really good high and, when he had what he considered, at that point in time, a Very Good Idea. Right now, satisfying the munchies with another slider was that Very Good Idea.
I shook the past out of my head and shoved the bag of burgers into Peteís hand. As I closed the door, he yelled after me, "Donít take forever, man. Weíve got a good buzz to kill."
Waving off Pete, I walked over to where Faith was laying, grass crunching underfoot. Grass is supposed to soft and bouncy, I thought, as if suddenly having an epiphany. Childhood memories of soft blades of grass poking through toes of shoeless feet as the sun poured down warmth I brushed away like cobwebs. I was too stoned to deal with the past at this point. There was just too much of it right now. I sat down next to Faith, Indian style and watched her blow smoke for a few minutes before she spoke.
"Wes and I broke up."
"Iím sorry to hear that. Are you O.K.?
"I suppose. I mean, laying here, thinking of all the possibilities in the world, all the things that have to come together just right for something to work, like a cloud to form and then actually rain, wellÖ" she trailed off and took another drag from her cigarette.
"Timing is everything," I sagely added.
She focused her eyes on me. "Itís not everything. Itís just a construct. When things donít match up, you just blame it on the timing, but there had to be something else there that wasnít working. There some other mechanism in conflict that is preventing things from going forward." Faith suddenly was very animated, pushing up and leaning back on her elbows. "For example, usÖ it wasnít timing, really. It was just that you were an asshole when dealing with long term relationships."
"Thanks for letting me off so easy."
Faith laughed, a smile touching the corner of her mouth before disappearing once again. She finished sitting up and pointed to Peteís car, half waving to him in the driverís seat. I watched as the material of her shirt - a teal tank void of any clichť corporate slogan - tightened against her shoulder, pulling it slightly up. The soft creamy skin of her stomach was barely exposed as the shirt lifted, and the cotton tightened across her chest, outlined her breasts. She caught me admiring her body, and gave me a sultry look, pursing her lips. "So, whatís the plan for the afternoon, lover?"
I smiled slightly at our little game. Since the breakup, it was cat and mouse - each one baiting the other. The only problem was neither of us knew where it might lead to. "Well, if you havenít eaten yet, and Pete hasnít finished them off, we got some White Castle. Beyond that, we were thinking of going to the mall to blow some quarters."
"Oh, the life of excitement never escapes you two, does it?" Faith let out a soft laugh, smirking.
"Now, now, be nice," I quickly replied, knowing it was a pointless request.
"Fuck nice. But Iíll come along anyway." Faith was already on her feet, headed towards the car. "You do have cigarettes on you, donít you?"