Malcolm was walking around the trail by the lake zoning out to Miles Davis when he saw Jamal approaching. His eyes no doubt grew wide for a moment as he pumped the brakes in his steps, but he didn’t want to give it away to Jamal that he was shocked and disappointed to see him. It had been years since he had even seen or thought about Jamal, probably not since the day they all graduated high school, escaping the hell of high school only to run into the flames of reality.
Finally able to relax, Malcolm approached Jamal with a polite and innocent smile. He hoped the grin didn’t give away the false sincerity he was currently feeling.
“What’s up Jamal?”
“Doing great Malcolm, it’s been way too long man.”
Malcolm from the first moment Jamal spoke had his doubts if he was really talking to the Jamal he had known. The Jamal he knew spoke endlessly at the speed of a champion thoroughbred, curse words sprinkled about disguised as adjectives. The Jamal currently in front of him seemed to be more calm and collected. His voice sounded deeper and had a slower rhythm to it, giving the impression that Jamal had a new sense of intelligence and enlightenment in his life.
“Right man, seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.”
“True,true. Can I walk with you for a little bit?”
Jamal had still yet to use the word fuck once, but Malcolm was still on edge waiting for the old Jamal to spring out. People didn’t just completely change over the course of a few years. Malcolm hoped his old pal wasn’t going to bullshit him just to pitch an It Works green tea wrap for removing cellulite.
“Look man, I know we get busy and times moves us down the road whether we do it with ease or not. I understand all that but I also understand I used to be aggressive, I used to be angry, I used to be consumed by hate and I wasn’t an easy person to be around. I want you as an old friend to know that all of that is part of my best. I’m not controlled by my temper anymore. I meditate, I look to things like Zen and The Art of Archery for enlightenment and I now prefer to love, to look for the positivity in this world.”
Malcolm nodded and smiled, finding himself willing to believe Jamal’s change for the better.
“That’s incredible to hear man. I gotta say, I really like the new you.”
Malcolm and Jamal patted one another on the shoulders. Malcolm could sense the truth in Jamal’s words and found himself wanting to buy into and believe Jamal’s positivity and optimism. He also found himself happy and excited for this new chapter in their friendship.
As the guys took a moment to pause on the walking trail, a jogger came by. It was apparent he was upset at the two standing in the path and making him resort to running in the grass.
“Excuse me!” the jogger said, unable to hide his anger and annoyance with the two.
“HEY MOTHER FUCKER!” Jamal screamed out.
The jogger stopped and turned around about to approach the two men before Jamal unbuckled and unzipped his jeans, taking his penis out.
“HOW ABOUT YOU GET ON YOUR MOTHER FUCKING KNEES AND SNIFF YOUR MOTHER’S CUNT JUICE!” Jamal said, his teeth clenched and grinding.
The jogger looked incredibly disturbed, the color draining from his skin.
“You fucking need help.” the jogger said, genuine concern for Jamal’s mental health in his voice.
After putting his penis away, Jamal looked at a loss for words as Malcolm uncomfortably looked around, anywhere but eye contact with the lunatic inches away from him. He noticed a woman who was approaching the two and was a witness to the scene pick up her dog and power walk away. People on benches had their eyes glued to Jamal and slowly went back to what they were doing previously.
“I guess I still have some things to work on.” Jamal said as he shrugged his shoulders with indifference.