Erma had a few points that stuck with me. Maybe I didn’t have to do what Meat Head did. Maybe there were other ways to care.
I took him to our first Seattle Seahawks game. Our seats were lousy, and River came with us, but I was sure Tom enjoyed himself. Me, on the other hand, I was in agony. Sports weren’t my thing. I could tell by the score that it was a good game, and The Stout Brothers were more than engaged, but I was a third wheel.
Even after years of being together, Tom and I were different people. He was a Meat Head. I was a Loser. He was a Jock. I was a Nerd. And yet, somehow, we couldn’t have been more alike had we tried.
By halftime, it was clear the Seahawks were going to win, but I couldn’t ask to leave early when I was the one who paid for the tickets. Instead, I went to the concession stand. The lines were long, but that didn’t bother me.
I ordered enough food to feed an army, but when I made it back to our seats, River was by himself.
“Where’s Tom?” I asked as I passed him half of everything so I could sit down without making a mess.
“Had to take a leak,” he told me.
The second half was about to start, and there was a different kind of energy between our Trio because one of us was missing.
“Thank you,” River said.
I had to swallow what was in my mouth before I could answer him, “For what?”
“I didn’t have to be here,” he said.
“Tom wanted you to come,” I argued.
We both kept our eyes facing the field while we ate.
“You bought the tickets before you told him,” River added, and he wasn’t wrong.
What was taking Tom so long to get back? Most of the surrounding seats were empty, leaving a semblance of privacy around River and me.
“Did you really move here just to get to know me?” I asked, finally looking his way.
“And to make sure the two of you don’t run off again,” he joked.
I looked away again while rolling my eyes, but he continued.
“Tom loves you, I don’t know why, but he does. Your his “boyfriend” I’m his brother. We don’t have to like each other, but I’d rather not hate you,” he said.
“You know, Tom used to be worried all the time. But ever since you all came back into his life, his family, he’s been... free. Nothing gets him down anymore,” I confessed.
“Because he has the best of both worlds,” River remarked.
Touch down! It might have been the best game of the season, from what I could tell. It was clearly the Seahawk’s easiest.
“If you ever touch me again, I’ll spray paint your room and slash your tires,” I said.
For reasons I couldn’t explain, I couldn’t let the moment end without taking a step back.
“If I ever have to walk in on you and my brother having sex again, I’ll throw you off a roof,” River added.
We both laughed, and Meat Head came back in time to see.
“What are you two talking about,” he asked while taking his seat between us and commencing to eat everything.