• “She’s different than you’re usual. Nice tits, though.” “Hey man, don’t talk about her that way,” snaps Asher.
  • Asher seemingly teleports across the room and appears between us. He shoves Josh in the chest, shouting, “Hey man, what did you do to her?”
  • … Asher’s fist connects with the right side of Chris’s face. He doubles over, clutching his cheek with both hands and moaning. “Talk about Andy like that again,” Asher growls, “and I will end you.”
  • He’s dressed in typical hipster attire – skinny jeans and a v-neck t-shirt exposing a sculpted, yet bony chest.
  • “I don’t know if I can interact with half my old friends anymore, not after trading in my letterman’s jacket for a tight pair of hipster jeans.”
  • Then I turn, grab Asher by the sleeve of his hipsterized v-neck t-shirt, and drag him away from the scene…
  • Do you have a job? Had one last year – fired for use of excessive sarcasm in dealings with my boss.
  • “Do you… uh… mind if we take your car?” “Um, why?” “Because I drive the car of a soccer mom… Yours is ten times more butch.”
  • “And you’ll be partaking in the great American tradition of beer pong and scantily-clad women?”
  • … he reaches behind his head to scratch at the nape of his neck and averts his eyes…
  • Then he defaults to his awkward-Asher move and scratches the back of his head.
  • “Speaking of colleges… a couple of the old high school guys go on break next week and we were planning a reunion. In the form of a party, set to drop this Friday. … I was kind of hoping you’d come… As a buffer,” he’s quick to add, throwing his arms out to steady me. “I don’t know if I can interact with half my old friends anymore, not after trading in my letterman’s jacket for a tight pair of hipster jeans.”
  • He nudges me with his shoulder. I nudge him back, harder. Nearly knock him over. But he flails his arms until he regains balance and rights himself.
  • … Just for that, I nudge him again.
  • I know I’ll have to come clean at some point, but I’ve been hoping the, “Asher, I’m a depressed psyche patient” conversation would happen much, much later in the future. You know, once we’d become such great friends that a little thing like my needing therapy wouldn’t scare him away.
  • “Dr. Hart’s my therapist. That’s a card he gave me. I’m supposed to get three people to sign it and then look at it whenever I feel depressed.”
  • I watch his face for all the signs – the frozen frown as he contemplates the information he’s just received, the relaxing of his features as realization settles in, and then one I haven’t counted on. One I can’t successfully identify. It might be understanding, it might be concern, or it might be a blend of the two.
  • “You know this doesn’t change anything, right?… It only… clears some things up. Like what happened with Josh, and your outburst when I invited you over for dinner that one time. Andy -” he plants his hands on my shoulders and renders avoiding his gaze impossible, “- I still think you’re cool. I don’t think you’re psycho or anything. Besides, if you’re honestly depressed, the therapy can only do you good.”
  • When I pull my phone from my pocket, a slip of scrap paper breaks free and hangs in the air for a second before touching down. I bend over to retrieve it, but Asher’s half a second faster. “You dropped this.” It unfolds when he pinches it and he reads it before I can reach out to stop him.
  • He pulls a pen from his pocket, lays the paper flat against his palm, and scrawls his name beneath Dr. Hart’s.