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The Path of Thought (standard:other, 2987 words)
Author: ColombianitoAdded: Jan 08 2008Views/Reads: 2880/1905Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Two friends and two different ways to make one's path through life.

You have to think positively. You can't let your mind drag you into a
dark place of inaction and self-pity. Everything that you say and think 
carries with it a vibration that starts building your material reality, 
bit by bit. That was Manny's rap lately. And it just wasn't sinking in 
with Gregorio, it wasn't resonating, and meanwhile Manny saw Gregorio 
walking through life like a paranoiac enveloped in a brownish haze, 
waiting to be bitten or stabbed. 

As much as he tried, Manny just couldn't relate. He and Gregorio had
been friends for many years, since childhood practically, and Manny 
thought he knew Gregorio better than anyone else, but as of late, 
Gregorio's precipitous fall into depression was leaving Manny at a 
loss, and he wasn't comfortable with losing. So he kept trying. 

Gregorio and his dad moved three houses down the street from Manny's and
within a day or two, Manny's mother, Anna, made him come with her to 
deliver a tray of cookies to welcome the new neighbors. Gregorio wasn't 
home presently but his dad mentioned to Anna that he had a 
thirteen-year old himself and wouldn't it be nice for them to meet so 
Gregorio could start making friends in the neighborhood. “I got it 
covered,” said Anna, winking. The next Saturday, she hosted a barbeque 
for friends and neighbors and Manny invited Gregorio to his room and 
showed him the Guns N' Roses poster he had up on the wall above his 
bed, one where they're all sitting on the floor and Slash is holding a 
bottle of Jack Daniels, and he also let him play a few riffs on the 
Fender Stratocaster he kept always plugged in and hooked to the amp. 
They became friends on the spot. 

Gregorio was intelligent and precocious, ahead of boys his age when it
came to trying and knowing things, but not applied as a student. His 
mother had died when he was five but he had hardly any memories of her, 
except some very early ones that had possibly been enriched and made 
vivid in his mind by his dad's emotive retelling of those “most 
wonderful years.” Dad was more of a friend, a supportive older brother. 
They horse played, went to hockey games, built soap box cars, stayed up 
late watching movies on school days, and they also cleaned the house 
and cooked together. 

At school, Gregorio knew how to talk, lie, or craft his way out of
trouble - trouble that as he got older was increasingly underscored by 
girls and booze. And Manny was almost always there with him, by his 
side, enjoying the thrill of mischief from the periphery, from a safe 
distance, so that he too wouldn't get in trouble, and he rarely did. 
Manny loved music, Rock and Roll especially, and when he wasn't riding 
his bike around town with Gregorio (and later riding in Gregorio's 1976 
Tercel), he was in his room, playing his guitar along to Led Zeppelin 
and Black Sabbath records. He never got good enough to be in a band, 
never could write a tune of his own or memorize tabs. 

Gregorio didn't show up to graduation. He had gotten drunk the night
before and didn't attend the ceremony or even the party that Anna had 
prepared for him and Manny. He later told Manny that at the mall he had 
run into Laura McDonough, the sluty redhead who had told them at 
homeroom that she was going to become a stripper to pay for college and 
was going to be set for life by twenty-five, with a big house and a 
college education. She and Gregorio had gotten drunk at Laura's aunt's 
house where they spent the night and had sex. He had been too hung over 
to wake up in time so he spent the day sleeping, vomiting, and 
ransacking the aunt's refrigerator. Manny remembered seeing Laura at 
graduation and feeling something like sexual nostalgia, like an 
unpleasant, cold tingling in his groin and his chest, knowing he'd 
never again be in the same classroom with Laura where he could busy 
himself making out the shape of her breasts through her jersey or 
picturing a gig with his imaginary band and spotting Laura cheering him 
on from front row. Manny had never shared these fantasies with 

Manny went off to college in North Carolina and Gregorio stayed behind
in Minneapolis, for a year and a half. Manny would call him;, write him 
letters, and later emails. The girls here are hot, I'm growing a 
goatee, me and some guys from the dorm put together a bluegrass band, I 
learned to play the banjo. C'mon man, I know you'll like it here, you 
don't have to pick a major yet, just come on down! 

So he did. Gregorio applied and was accepted to North Carolina State and

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