He looked the same. Perhaps there was something different about his demeanour - he fidgeted little and he looked less intense. His hair was combed and slicked back. I recognized his WARPED tour t-shirt and his baggy cargo pants. I spilled coke on them once.
We sat opposite each other outside Holland Village's Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Though the area was shaded, the heat still hung in the air, as if adding weight to our oppressive silence.
"You're done for the day?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Mind if I smoke?" he asked.
He squinted and surveyed the area. "Feels surreal," he said.
"Three years is a long time."
"Actually it's not," he replied. He exhaled. "Actually I don't know. Just that I don't see Coffee Bean joints until I go down to L.A. Jamba Juice is my usual fix."
I jerked my head, irritated. A fly had started to buzz near my ear. "What's that?" I asked politely.
"It's like a fruit smoothie, but they add vitamin mixes to it," he said. "I can't believe I haven't told you about the stuff. I'm addicted to it."
And vodka, and beer, and pot, and sexŠ
Don't be cruel.
"How're you?" he asked.
"I told you, I'm doing honours. I'm going to get a car, a BM actually. It's dark blue. After graduation, I'll probably backpack across Europe. Finally."
"Can I join you then?"
I was silent.
"Guess not," he mumbled.
"I haven't made any plans yet," I said.
"How're you?" he asked again. "I don't mean how you're doingŠI'm asking, how are you."
I think he hit a raw spot. Instantly I felt like I was almost going to burst into tears. I wiped the perspiration off my nose bridge.
"I'm okay," I said finally.
"I don't think you are," he replied gently.
Envy, in fact, is one form of vice, partly moral, partly intellectual, which consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations.