November 29, 2007
Josh came over the other day to help you move some sheetrock. You’re redoing part of the basement, and it’s turned out to be a much bigger job than you were expecting. You probably should have just paid someone to do it, but whatever, it’s do-able, just kind of a pain. Josh is good like that, willing to help out. He’s done this stuff before and it didn’t take the promise of very much beer to get him to come over and—
“Hey what the hell is this?”
Josh is holding a picture frame he picked up off the mantel. It’s a picture of you with an attractive woman, your arms wrapped around each other.
“Is…what’s going on in this picture?” he says.
You take the picture from him and do that thing where you hold it down and look at it with your head tilted up. You’ve been wondering lately if you need bifocals or something. It’s kind of hard to focus on things in certain lights.
“This was from last summer, I guess?” you say. “There was a concert at the beach or something.”
You hold the picture out to him. He just stares at you, doesn’t move to take it.
“So anyways, yeah.” The plan was just to have Josh help you move the sheetrock, but now that he’s here, maybe you can get him to just help you put it up. Two people could probably bang through the job by lunch.
“That’s Eva Mendes,” Josh says.
You give him a look and then look at the picture again.
“You know her?” you say.
He’s still just staring at you. “Everyone knows her. She’s famous. She’s been in a ton of movies.”
“Yeah? Cool. So I was thinking that we just bring all the sheetrock down, then you can maybe help me figure out what other stuff I need to do next.” Right? Kept him talking about the project, and then he’ll just be involved and pitching in without even realizing it.
Now Josh is looking around at the other pictures on the wall. “Wait. These are all of you and Eva Mendes. You’re dating Eva Mendes. You’re dating Eva Mendes? The actress?”
Wow, Josh really seems to want to talk about this. She could definitely be an actress, that sounds vaguely familiar. You remember meeting her at a movie premiere? Maybe? Or a party at some director’s house? Something?
“Yeah we’ve been together for a while.”
“For how long?”
“I don’t know, just a little while. Since New Year’s.”
“That’s almost a year.”
Whatever! God. “So you’ve seen all her movies?” you say.
“Yes! Well, yeah, I think so. I don’t know. Maybe. I think.”
Silence. Josh doesn’t seem to be able to remember whether or not he’s actually seen any of this person’s movies.
“She’s been in a lot of magazines, too,” he says, finally.
“Oh,” you say. There is really so much work to do, even after you get the sheetrock up. You have to put something else up over it before you start painting, right? Josh would probably know. He’s still staring off into the middle distance, lost in thought. “So…you read a lot of magazines?”
“How can you be dating Eva Mendes? Why didn’t you tell me about this? This is huge. Eva Mendes?”
Fuck, fine. Better just go along with this and get through the conversation, or else you’ll be here talking about it all day, and not putting up the sheetrock.
“I just don’t like to make a big deal out of it. I don’t want people to treat me differently just because I’m dating Eva fucking Menendez, you know?”
He’s still staring at you. The sheet rock is still lying there, and it’s just this big weight, crushing your chest and making it hard to breathe. The basement will never ever get finished. The morning is like half over.