Lange’s rent-controlled studio apartment was miniscule, like a jail cell or a monk’s four sparse walls. We sat on the edge of his bed and drank Jägermeister right out of the bottle because we were too drunk and lazy to wash glasses. After a few cigarettes the room took on a bluish haze. He opened the only narrow window to let in fresh air that smelled of rain and the salt of a sea breeze.
We didn’t need the Jäger, not after the whiskey we’d had down at the Rose and Thorn, but on we went, passing the bottle carefully back and forth like a holy relic. It was nothing short of a quest now. Lange put on a Radiohead CD, then turned the TV on with the sound down. Channel 13 was showing ‘Fight Club.’
We wanted sensory overload. The enormous volume of alcohol we’d consumed had rendered us unnaturally wired, a high no doubt supplemented by the cigarettes now reduced to butts in the overflowing ashtray.
Lange was staring blankly at the TV screen. He looked like a drunken deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him start up from his trance. Then I heard a crash and the room went dark.
Lange flicked his lighter and the small flame let him locate the table lamp.
“I think I broke the overhead light.”
“How did you do that?”
“With the broom.”
It sounded more like a Zen koan than an answer.
I still miss those nights with Lange, you know, though we were so alike it bordered on a kind of incest. Still, we had a few drunken months together before we drifted away and apart, our temporary twinship dissolved, as the shiftless boozy young tend to do. That tiny studio was just the right size to hold what love our damaged selves could muster, but it was never big enough to contain the missing and the memory of him.