Every. Body. Else

smoking on the floor

Frank and Trey

“Was it really that bad?”

“Uh… ask me tomorrow.”

“But I’m asking you now.”

“It was really awkward. I knew… I knew it was gonna be.”

“Yeah but, c’mon they were nice to you. Daphne was!”

“Daphne was but Job and Thijs… They hate me.”


“I knew it was gonna be weird.”



“Just… yeah… I guess… ‘weird’ huh?”

“What’s up?”

“Forget it.”


“I don’t like.... Wait… maybe it’s just that ‘weird’, that makes me feel weird.”

“I didn’t… I didn’t mean anything. I was… sigh…”

“Didn’t you just brush your teeth?”


“You just… you were brushing your teeth. Just a minute ago.”

“Yeah? So?”

“So you’re gonna do that now?”

“Yeah. What’s the problem?”

“N… nothing.”

“It’s a long day. I’m stressed.”

“I’m sorry you’re stressed.”

“Well you're talking to me like…”

“How am I talking to you?”

“What? This bothers you now?”

“N… no.”

“Are you sure?”


“You don’t look like it.”

“I’m sure.”

“Let’s not…”

“Okay. We’re not. It… I don’t like it. I’m sorry I don’t like it.”

“So why don’t you just say so?”

“Because. Because I don’t want to make you feel bad.”

“Why would I feel bad? You want me to go all the way downstairs?”

“It’s not that far.”

“I know. But it’s, it’s fuckin cold. But if, if that’s what you want. Just tell me! I don’t know why you think I would feel bad about that?”

“It’s not just… sigh…”


“You never looked at me like that.”

“How am I looking at you? I’m not looking at you any kinda way.”

“You look really…”

“It was… I wanted to meet them because they’re your kids… if you don’t want me to say it’s weird I get it. I’m… I’m not trying to say I didn’t want to be there but… it was… it wasn’t… I don’t know? It wasn't comfortable. I can deal with everybody else…”

“What about me?”

“What about you? What do you mean?”

“It’s not easy for me either.”

“You came to Bruxelles one time! I always come here.”

“You know I want to come more.”

“There’s no ‘more’ about it. You came once.”

“Why are you just now… why are you telling me it’s a problem now?”

“I didn’t say it was a problem… I’m just saying that it wasn’t like the most fun thing ever meeting your kids and them acting like I’m a…”

“Like you’re a what? And Daphne was nice to you!”

“It wasn’t just Daphne there! And now you’re, you’re policing my health or whatever…”

“I’m not I just don’t like the smell. I don’t like it! And I kind of miss it when you do it even though I don’t like it.”

“So why did you ask me if I just brushed my… oh…”

“Don’t read too much into it. It’s just…”

“You can just tell me… Just tell me from now on. I’m not gonna be… I’m not gonna get offended.”

“I don’t tell you because I don’t want you to feel bad, but I notice it a lot.”

“Great so you… you just don’t say anything? You just notice, but you don’t say anything and you kiss me anyway. That makes me feel good.”

“See this is why I didn’t wanna tell you.”

“Well now I just feel… stupid.”


“I’m gonna go downstairs. I’ll…”

“No you can, you can… you can just open the window.”

“Naw… I’ll go downstairs.”

“I guess this is our first fight.”

“Guess so.”

“I didn’t mean… I don’t know how it... “

“Me neither. I just wanted to be real, you know? That’s what I… that’s what makes me feel good. With you I mean.”

“I know. I want you to be… ‘real’.”

“Ha ha! It sounds weird when you say it like that.”

“Let’s not fight, or let’s try to talk about it.”

“Phew. Talk about it…”

“We can try. About the cigarettes… it’s…”

“You shoulda just told me. Cos now I’m just gonna, I just keep playing all these memories back in my head of us, and now I’m like… like fuckin paranoid that you were trying not hurl.”

“What is hurl?”

“Tsch! Think about it.”

“I think telling you right now made it something. It’s not. I think… I think I said it because I feel guilty and nervous. I saw how they were acting but I didn’t know what to do.”

“You weren’t supposed to do anything. But if I say that it, that it sucked, then let me say it and don’t, don’t cross examine me. It was never gonna be them meeting me and thinking that… Why shouldn’t they be just as judgemental as everyone else.”

“They’ll… they’ll accept it.”

“They don’t have to. But… Daphne was cool.”

“She just wants her old man to be happy. I didn’t know you were… keeping track of me not visiting you. Actually that’s a lie. I… I knew at least that I wasn’t making an effort. I’m sorry. I…”

“I know. You have so much to do. I get it.”

“So do you.”

“But I want to be here. And you’re not, you’re not coming there so… I’m here. I come here because I wanna be around you.”

“Even when my kids are being… spoiled brats, minus Daphne?”

“Wait till they find out about…”

“Ha! You know it’s not about you? They’ve never forgiven me for leaving their mother. It doesn’t matter that I was there as much as I could be. It doesn’t matter that I… I’ve been alone. The weird thing is that they don’t even know that they don’t want me to have any kind of happiness.”

“So you are happy?”

“Ha. You know I am!”


“I am. You know that I am.”

“You didn’t make any of this easy and I’m not talking about…”

“Can you blame me? I mean guess you can, but I always, I hope, I think I always showed you how I felt. I just didn’t wanna be too ‘in your face’ because never in a million years did I think that… that this was gonna happen. Like you still look like you could be in school with Job.”

“I don’t know if I look that young…”

“You do except when you’ve been partying all night and I have to be your nurse and bring you paracetamol.”

“If you came out with me…”

“I would drag you home early.”

“And we have a private party here…”

“That would end with me falling asleep… on top of you.”

“I’m getting really good at pushing you off of me.”

“Hmph. But can you blame me? No one’s supposed to have this. To feel like this. I still remember coming here and falling… I don’t wanna say falling in love, but it was love, and I knew I had to just forget about it. Ignore it, get married. Make babies. Be something.”

“Be something…”

“But you know what I mean?”

“That’s another one of our gaps. I never had that pressure. It was like stay outta trouble. Get a job. I think that’s why they don’t care as much as they did when I first told them. That… I never ask them for anything. That I send them money. And then there’s me living far far away and them getting passports and telling their friends that I live in Europe.”

“They love you.”

“They’ve never told me they love me.”

“Maybe they don’t know how.”

“My parents never said ‘I love you’ but they showed me.”

“They provided for me but… I don’t know if what that was, what happened in our house. I don’t think that’s love. If it is, I don’t want it.”

“Your mother and father they… they seem like they look after each other.”

“You met them once… but you only have to meet them once to see who they are. They’re the same people all the time. He cheated on her left and right but wants a medal because he never hit her. And she… she tried to leave and he… he got it together real quick! He even stopped drinking. She was gone for like a week. He stopped drinking. He washed the fuckin dishes and did the laundry. We even went to church. She came back because she was too scared to leave him I guess.”

“It’s not easy. Leaving isn’t easy. And it’s not like she would have had that much support.”

“I know. I’m not trying to… it just… it’s another time. It’s another era…”

“It’s my era.”

“Ha ha ha. It is. You know what my dad told me?”


“He said ‘You can count on him to take care of you’. Then he asked me for fifty euros.”

“Ha ha ha ha ha. I don't know if I should be laughing.”

“I have to laugh sometimes. You know how much I work. I’m never in my cold,shitty studio because I’m always hustlin.  My dad’s always had someone taking care of him. What he said was more about him than me. As long as I’m a cashpoint for him…”

“I’m sorry. But your dad’s right. I would take care of you.”

“Ha! See? That’s exactly why… that’s what they all think about us. Except Daphne. You should see people’s faces when I tell them that I work at a restaurant.”

“See but that… that makes me mad.”

“Sigh… well… that’s a waste. But it’s… sometimes it’s funny. They lose respect for me, when I say that I’m not a manager. I’m not a chef. I’m a waiter. I can see them resorting me as your… toy. That’s the weird thing about being ‘something’. I get my money. I take care of my family. I come to see you. I got everything I need but they… it’s like they just shut down and sometimes, sometimes I feel like they… they’re impressed maybe that’s the word, for you. They look at you like ‘Good for you’, and then sometimes they, I think they worry about you.”

“Yeah they probably do. I know. Some of them, some of my friends… they have their opinions but I don’t bring you around them.”

“I don’t give a shit. I don’t. But when you say that… that you’re happy… I… I just think about that because…”

“I am happy. I think I’m more than happy. I just keep thinking about you. Isn’t there someone in Bruxelles you could be dating?”

“That’s not really the point.”

“I’m gonna go downstairs. I want to.”

“I might be asleep when you come back up.”

“Yeah? I might fall asleep next to you if that happens.”