none of us could figure it out
we’d all known each other
for over two decades
(at least on and off)
our whole lives
all neighborhood boys
who used to throw rocks at the UPS truck
together and run across frozen streams
until we broke through the ice.
but none of us could understand
why our friend Ray
was dating his girlfriend
“you know she’s a lesbo,”
one of us would say.
“yeah, I know it,” he’d reply
“you know that she’s a real bitch, right?”
“yeah, I know that, too.”
“you know she’s just using you, don’t you?”
“yep, I’m aware of that.”
the months passed
we heard of their engagement
“what the hell are you thinking?”
I asked him. “it doesn’t make sense.
you can’t possibly want to marry
a lesbian who treats you like shit,
can you? What if you want kids? Or a wife
who won’t have girlfriends on the side?”
he looked at me with vacant eyes
and then I knew.
his brain was poisoned
this girl had somehow ruined his mind
I left him there in the driveway
shaking my head
for a long time I heard nothing about him
I winced at the idea of their marriage
his eternal doom
then one day I ran into another old friend
we got to talking
“did he actually end up marrying her?” I asked.
“no, no! He brought her home to meet his family
and it all went to hell. But get this,
even in the midst of the shit storm,
he still figured he’d marry her.
He thought it would all be okay, in the end.”
I looked at him, wondering what the hell
“what happened was this: his mom
sat down with him and told him,
‘listen, Ray. You may not marry that girl, got it?
Repeat after me, ‘I am not going to marry that girl.’
And so he repeated after her.”
“that’s it? That was it? That worked?”
“sure did. You know why?”
“why?” I asked.
“you know what it is about Ray?”
“it’s that the crazy bastard actually listens to women.
He listens to ‘em and actually does what they say.
His mother was the first woman
he’d spoken with since dating that bitch,
because she wouldn’t let him even speak to anyone else.”
we both had a good laugh and then I left town
I later learned our friend Ray
was in some other relationship
with another girl, and that he’d married her,
but only after getting his mother’s blessing.