If you spent a day living anywhere close to us, you'd find yourself wondering what goes on in our home. For starters, you'd be convinced that we house a strange bird in our tiny flat, for every now and then, a shrill shriek ripples through the silence of the night. One of us has lengthy conversations out of our bedroom window with the neighbour's cat, often spelling out the fact that cats are not welcome anywhere near us. The other tends to break into a heavy fake-German accent when tipsy, and into a strange Southern drawl combined with the distinct cadence of the Hood on most other occasions. There's a lot of general drama and role playing involved from time to time where we tend to completely forget ourselves and embrace the characters we're playing. These characters have long, loud arguments over nothing in particular and finally, upon saying something that's super hilarious (only to them) they high-five each other and move on. It's weird to some people.
Which is why all of this is usually bottled up behind masks of aloofness and borderline social awkwardness in the both of us. Shane's actively friends with less than a handful of people from work and has clung on to his one friend from Uni (a.k.a The Bromance) for the past eight years. He's also comfortable with one other friend he met through The Bromance and that's that. And I'm sure I don't need to go into my peculiarities in the friend-making department once again over here. So a clear sign to both Shane and myself that we've let someone in is in the way we act "normal" around them.
For example, last weekend at The Bromance's place, Shane and I had a full blown "argument" over who got to sit on which side of the couch while one of us read a book and the other played a video game. It ended with me making the weird bird noise and thus claiming my spot. The Bromance who was just about to sit down himself, looked at us with mild interest when the bird noise escaped my being and followed that up with an indifferent shrug when both Shane and I looked like nothing out of the ordinary had happened there.
That very same night, right before we left The Bromance's place pretty late at night, I asked him with a ton of exaggeration if he would miss us once we walked out that door. He replied with another indifferent shrug and a "Maybe" without even breaking away from his computer screen.
I then dramatically ran to Shane who was standing in the hallway and exclaimed, "Did you hear that? I think it likes us after all!"
Catching on immediately, Shane said, "You know what we should do, we should slowly move into this apartment and start living with it. It might not even notice!"
"Yes! We can be like a family until we push it off the balcony and claim this flat for ourselves!", said I.
Then we shook on it.
All this, while the subject of our devious murder plan who had clearly heard every word of our exchange, didn't even move a muscle. That is the sign of someone who had passed all the tests and become acclimatised to the weirdness. No response or reaction to any kind of weird behavior whatsoever - check.
You all might already remember that time when Meenal met The Bromance for the first time and Shane and I had assumed the personalities of Barb Kellner and her gay friend Bert from Texas whom we had made up. We talked like Barb and Bert for the entire duration of the evening and only once towards the end did The Bromance ask us what was up with us that day. We told him what was up, he nodded and accepted us the way we were that evening, while Meenal looked on in bewilderment. She'll get used to it eventually, I guess.
Because it's a process. It takes time for everybody and God knows it took him some time to get there too. A while ago, the three of us tried to arrive at a decision regarding what to watch on Netflix. The boys love science documentaries that bore me out of my skull and it is of special appeal to them when they remember this fact and play it while I sit around moping in silent protest. This one time, after we agreed upon a movie that apparently all three of us were eager to watch, they suddenly started playing the science documentary. I sat right in between them on the couch for about thirty minutes, not doing much except moaning constantly in despair, until finally The Bromance gave up and said, "Shane, we have to let her watch the movie now or you know this could go on forever". Shane would have never noticed the moaning otherwise. I'm not so sure if I would have either, but thirty minutes of withstanding it proved that he was a strong candidate.
Compare that incident to this one from recent times: The Bromance never lets us walk into his bedroom with our shoes on because it's carpeted. He spends most of his time at his PC in his bedroom even while we're there so before approaching, we're always required to remove our shoes. The other day, however, right after we called a cab and I absentmindedly put on my shoes in the process of getting ready to leave, Shane and The Bromance started pointing at something interesting on the PC and talking about it with a lot of enthusiasm. I ran to them in order to find out what was so interesting, only to realise that I couldn't enter the room since I'd worn my shoes and had very few minutes left before the cab arrived, which meant that I'd have to quickly remove my shoes, check out what's interesting, run out of the room, and retie my laces before leaving. And I didn't want to do all that. Too much effort. So I stood at the door to his bedroom and did the 'moaning in despair' on my own. Shane, of course, didn't notice anything out of the ordinary but The Bromance turned to ask me what was wrong. I told him that I couldn't enter the room because I was wearing shoes and he shook his head. Then, he went back to discussing the interesting thing with Shane and I went back to moaning. Everything was as it was meant to be.
It's been quite a journey with The Bromance and I've never really found someone who accepts, appreciates, and reciprocates my depraved sense of humour the way he does. If you were to ask me to point out an exact moment when it became obvious that he had passed the test, it would have to be one of our lasts evenings in Greece last year when he returned from our favourite cafe in town with their custom t-shirts in our sizes. That evening, the three of us dressed in those identical t-shirts and walked down the street, much to the amusement and genuine curiosity of many present there. We even had dinner with his brother and friends dressed liked that.
To Shane, wearing that t-shirt meant - Oh look! A piece of clothing for the day. That means I don't have to dig through my suitcase and find something to wear.
To The Bromance, it probably meant - I guess this is happening. Meh.
But to me, it was like an initiation ceremony. That was the moment when he became one of our own. Because after everything he's seen and heard from us, if he was ready to walk down the street dressed completely identical to me and Shane, he must have endless patience and a general lack of judgment (in both senses of the phrase) which are all perfect qualities we look for in our friends.