Sunday, August 21, 2005


“Hey so are you coming to Williamsburg or what?” Steve asked right after he tried to sink one of his stripe balls. It was Friday night, and we’re having a mini party. Not so much as a party, but more like a bunch of drug addicts getting high together.

“I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. The train ticket is kinda expensive. What is it, like 60 bucks or something?” I bent down and took aim. My cue hit the white ball, the white ball hit a solid ball and both of them went straight down the side pocket.

“Actually it’s 70 bucks one way. But I have the 25% discount thing so it’ll be like 110 round trip,” he said as he fished out the white ball and positioned it somewhere on the table.

“What?!” I wasn’t expecting it. “Dude, then I don’t think I’m going dude. I’ve already spent waaaay too much money on this trip.”

“Are you serious? Tell Boz what you just said.”


“Tell Boz what you just told me,” Steve turned around and yelled at our friend who’s sitting on the couch, talking to another friend of ours, Nick. “Hey Boz!”

Boz looked up.

“I’m not going to Williamsburg anymore. It’s too expensive.”

“I’ll give you the money for the ticket,” he said right before he turned his attention back to his laptop and murmured something to Nick. They both laughed.

“What? Are you trying to get rid of me or something?” I asked, but he didn’t hear me. I looked back at Steve, he gave me the I-don’t-know-anything shrug and proceed to sink a stripe ball with flourish.

I lost that game of pool in the end.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“So uhh about Williamsburg,” Boz brought it up again after he picked me up at the train station. I just came back from the Philly Art Museum. “I’ll give you 80 dollars for your ticket. No offense or anything, but I kinda want to be by myself for a little bit, you know?”

“Okay,” I said. I’ve been staying with him for 6 days now. Last night, right after I got the feeling that I wasn’t that welcomed anymore, I started thinking about going to Williamsburg. And the more I thought about it, the more it sounds like a good idea. I mean, partying and smoking? Plus somebody offered to pay for the train ticket. Whatever the intention was, I’ll take it.

“There’s a train that leaves tomorrow at 2.30 in the afternoon. I was thinking you can stay there till Tuesday morning, and then take a train to DC, and walked around there for a little bit, and then come back here. We’ll go to New York on Wednesday,” he continued.

“Sounds good.” What do you say when your host is literally kicking you out? What can you say?

We were both quiet for the rest of the way. He had the top down and we were zooming through the back roads in his Miata. I’m starting to get used to the humidity. It reminds me of home. Oddly enough, many things in Philly reminded me of home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Did you guys get wings?” Steve asked as me and Boz entered his house.

“Yeah. Wings To Go. It’s Suicide,” I said as I proceed to chow down. “Man these are good!”

“See? Told ya.” Boz said.

“Oh man the fries is awesome!”

“Yeah they are pretty good.”

“Oh hey Steve,” I turned my attention to Steve with half a wing in one hand, another half in my mouth. “I’m going to Williamsburg.”

“Oh really?! I am going to Williamsburg too!” He joked. I decided to play along.

“Really? When are you going?”


“Really? Me too!” I gasped. “What a coincidence.”

“Yeah so where are you staying?”

“I don’t know. There’s gonna be parties at Williams and Mary right? I guess I’ll just passed out at the different party every night then I don’t have to worry about that.”

“That sounds great!”

“But seriously, do you have a place for me to stay?”

“Yeah, we have a couch. But you gotta help me move it from the storage.”


“Oh and you’re gonna have to find a way to get to the frat house from the train station. I’ll be too stoned and too drunk to come pick you up.”

My heart sunk for the nth time that day. I thought when you invite someone over to your school to party, that someone is technically you so-called ‘guest’. I also thought that it would be rude to ask your ‘guest’ who has never been to where he was going, to “find a way to get to the frat house” by himself, especially when said ‘guest’ will arrive after dark.

“What are you serious?!”

“Yeah. It’s not too far away. It’s like a half a mile walk. I just don’t want to go pick you up when I’m stoned. Because it’ll seem like I’ll be walking forever and it’ll take forever.”

That was day 6 of my summer vacation. I’ll be staying for 8 more days. Note to self: next time, plan a short vacation. 14 days? Waaaaaaaaaaaay too long.

“And then on your way back on Tuesday, you can stop by DC and check out Smithsonian.”

I looked at him. I didn’t say anything. My heart sunk even lower. I just realized that my “Welcome to Philly” period has passed. When your friends got together and drew up a plan to pretty much “ship” you to somewhere else without even asking you first, even though it is YOU who is going, you know that you’ve been there too long.

It’s time to go home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Hey Snakehead!”


“Come upstairs!”

I went up.

“We’re gonna buy the train ticket.”

No, that wasn’t a question. That was a statement. We are going to buy ticket so they can get the hell away from me. I started wondering if I did anything wrong. Perhaps I’m too west coast-y for the east coast? Perhaps I should’ve just sit in a corner instead of actually talking to their friends and gotten along with them pretty smoothly?


2 minutes later,

“Fuck. This doesn’t work for some reason.”

“What doesn’t work?”

“My Amtrak student card. I’m not getting the 25% discount. What now, Boz?” I’m just a puppet. They make the decisions for me. It’s time to say something.

“You know what?” My lips moved and those words came out. “Why don’t I go home?”

“You sure?” Boz asked. Was it just me or did his face just light up?

“Yeah. I’ve been here long enough anyway.”

“But I don’t want you to feel like we’re making you do this.”

“Oh no no no. I just need to check see if I can change my plane ticket. What’s America West’s number?”

5 minutes later, I found out that I would have to pay $250 to change my plane ticket. Do I want to pay $250 to leave tomorrow instead of a week later? My Mastercard said no. My Visa said no. My checking account said no. But my heart, my heart said yes. The decision has already been made, regardless of how much in debt I am or how much I’ve spent.

“Snakehead, I heard you’re leaving tomorrow,” Julie said as soon as she came up. “Is that true? I thought you were staying for another week? I thought you were coming to New York to visit me?”

“Yeah, I’m leaving tomorrow. I’ve stayed here long enough.”

“But how much you have to pay to change your ticket? Wait, are you leaving because of us? I know I haven’t been hanging out with you a lot and all, but are you leaving because you felt like we don’t want you here or something?”

“What?! No no no no!”

“Then why? Are you homesick? Because that’s understandable. You’ve been here for a week.”

“Yeah, actually I kinda am,” I fibbed.

“Oh well then. I’m sorry you didn’t see New York.”

“Well, there’s always next time, right?” I smiled. “Now let’s get down. Is there anymore wings left?”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“So what do you think of the east coast?” Boz asked as he was driving me to the airport. We spent the entire day together, visited the interesting Franklin Institute and the stomach-turning Mutter Museum. I think he did this out of guilt. I think he knows that he’s the reason I’m going home a week earlier, and I think he knows I know.

“I love it. It’s great. I’m starting to get used to the weather. I mean, look at this. Tonight will be a great night. And the food, don’t even get me started on the food. I had the best meatball sub of my life, the best fries of my life, the best fried chickens of my life, the best cheese steaks of my life. I mean, I would come here again just for the food.”

“Well, I’m glad you liked it. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see New York. If there’s another place I love more than Philly, it’s New York.”

“Well, there’s always next time, right?”

“Yeah, definitely. If you ever want to come out here again, you know, just give me a call.”

“You know what? I think I will. And if I do, I’ll stay for a maximum of 5 days,” I held up 5 fingers. “That way you won’t get sick of me and try to get rid of me.”

He laughed. “That sounds great.”

I looked at him and smiled.

At that moment, we both came to a mutual understanding. The tension melted.

I bought the right decision with 250 dollars.

And it’s all worth it.