Edgar often spent the evenings before going out sitting in front of his window. He’d contemplate past failures, past missteps, thinking of how he could have done better. He knows Oscar’s told him not to think about the past too much but it's hard not to when the past is everywhere you go. Imbedded in every crack and every dark crevice of the city waiting for an opportunity to step out and to confront you head-on. Thus, leading Edgar to start the night drinking. It’d become a routine over the years to drink whatever bottle of alcohol he had hidden under his bed and masking the smell from Oscar with a piece of gum and some cologne.
Typically, evenings out with Oscar would turn into nights and then mornings and eventually a whole weekend spent with Oscar. No one could refuse him, especially not Edgar. Meeting Oscar had been an odd occurrence. It had been a lifeless point in Edgar’s life. He hadn’t expected to feel so at home with Oscar nor had he expected Oscar to become his best friend.
One thing he never quite got used to was how clingy Oscar could be. Most nights, like this one, Oscar would not let go of Edgar’s arm. However, if it had been any other night Edgar would’ve called Oscar annoying and told him to stop but considering this was his last night in New Londres, he allowed Oscar to spend the whole night clinging to his arm. It was for the best anyways. All the alcohol in Edgar’s system was making him anxious. Having Oscar next to him grounded him. Now, Edgar Allan Poe was no stranger to anxiety. It was a pest he had learned to live with for most of his life, but this feeling he felt was something different. He wasn’t just anxious or nervous. What he felt was devouring his core. It was a heavyweight that was clinging to his ribs and resting in his chest. It was suffocating him and leaving these nasty thoughts of doubt in his mind. This feeling that he felt was almost enough to make him puke. All night, the weight in his chest never left and the thoughts would drift in and out of his mind like waves crashing against the side of a boat. If he allowed himself to entertain these thoughts, things like ‘You’re not good enough’ or ‘You’ll never be as successful as Ernest or Thomas’, he could feel himself drift away into an abyss. An abyss where no beautiful things existed; a place where someone as ghoulish and pathetic as Edgar belonged.
Luckily, tonight he had enough distractions to keep those thoughts at bay. He spent the whole night out celebrating with his friends- it was their endless praise and kind words that had pushed these thoughts away long enough for him to be happy for at least one last time. Once they were done hopping from club to club they all went to Mary’s home to eat some food and wind down. It felt odd, to be watching movies at Mary’s apartment with everyone crowding him. It felt final in a sort of way. He didn’t like this feeling in the slightest and when he felt those dark thoughts begin to creep back into his mind, Oscar got up and held his hand out to Edgar, “Want to watch the sunrise with me one last time?”
Edgar nodded and allowed Oscar to pull him to his feet. The two weren’t sure if they were still a tad drunk or if it was just the exhaustion of being up so late, but they could barely walk straight.
As they made their way down the street, Edgar let his thoughts travel. For some reason, he couldn’t stop thinking about last summer. He’d spent the summer in a mental hospital just up the street from his apartment. He'd walked past it every day and never thought twice about it. He never entertained the idea that he would end up there one day. Oscar had done well to go visit him every day during his lunch break, during dinner, and even some mornings he would show up. Edgar was embarrassed by the whole ordeal and wanted to move past that moment in his life, but he was glad Oscar had convinced him to go. It was a low point in his life and without Oscar’s intervention, he might not be here today, walking to the Bore Bridge. He felt selfish wishing Oscar would come with him to Yokoston. There wasn't much he could do. New Londres was Oscar's home. It was his home as well. He’d miss everything about Oscar. Living with Oscar, mornings with Oscar, nights with Oscar. His moving wouldn't change their friendship but it would change his routine of the past 4 years.
"-was alright, but honestly I don't understand why Wells always insists on these types of films. They know I can't stand science fiction."
Oscar’s voice drew him back to the present. The feeling in his chest wouldn't leave, but walking beside his friend made him feel light on his feet. He was smiling and trying not to lean too much on Oscar.
He responded, "Because, Oscar, if we left the option up to you, you would've chosen some period drama and I'll be honest with you, no one wanted to see a period drama tonight."
"How do you know that? Did you all talk about me behind my back?"
"I wouldn't say that..."
"So you're telling me you were!"
Edgar sighed, "We simply made a few early decisions during lunch."
Oscar pouted, "Some friends you are. Conspiring against me behind my back!"
Edgar rolled his eyes, "It's just a movie."
Oscar shook his head and stopped walking, "That's how it starts! First, it's choosing the snacks and movies without my vote! Then it's secret hangouts! Then before you know it Oscar Wilde is cut from the picture!"
"Oscar I'd never do that. You're my dearest friend. My best friend even! I could never cut you from my narrative."
Oscar was still frowning. "What?" Edgar asked.
Oscar sighed and continued walking, Edgar stumbling after him. "How do you know that? You're moving back to Yokoston. Our fates will be out of our hands! How do I know this isn't the end for us? Face it, Edgar, we have no real way of knowing what this new chapter in your life means for our friendship."
"Only good things I hope." Oscar scoffed at Edgar’s soft words.
"Why even go to work for Z? It wasn't even in your top 3 choices."
"But it was in my top 5." When Oscar didn't respond Edgar sighed once more and said, "I know the position offered by the Guild isn't exactly what I had planned, but the Guild was the better option of my choices. All I need to do is work under Zelda Fitzgerald for a year and I'll be back."
"You know I can't promise that... God, it's almost like I'm being tested to prove my worth to this city, but I'll do everything I can to make sure I can secure a job here."
"You're already worthy, Edgar. These people have their heads so far up their asses they-"
"Sorry, but it's true. These people are so full of themselves! Someday, Edgar, you'll be the biggest writer in New Londres! Your books will make millions and all of these magazine companies and publishing companies will regret ever rejecting you in the first place!"
"And every art gallery will fight tooth and nail to have your paintings and photographs."
Oscar smiled and linked arms with Edgar, "Exactly! You and I were destined for greatness, don't let anyone make you think otherwise!"
The two young men felt drunk on their ambition and quickened their pace. Eventually, both took off as they attempted to reach the Bore Bridge before dawn. Giant grins were plastered on their faces as they raced through the streets of New Londres. They were holding hands the whole while and laughing. Luckily, not many people were awake and out in the streets to see them, but the few who did merely frowned at them.
The two men reached the bridge just as the first few rays of gold spread itself across the pink sky. They leaned against each other and watched the sunrise together. The two men kept sneaking glances at one another, both trying to commit this moment to memory. As though framing it at the center of their minds. All Edgar could focus on was the way Oscar’s skin glowed in the morning light, and all Oscar could focus on was Edgar’s grey eyes as he pushed his bangs back. Both men were scared, but for different reasons. Edgar was scared to be on his own and Oscar was scared Edgar would forget all about him.
"Do you think I'll make it?" The words left Edgar’s lips in a whisper. Almost like he hadn’t meant to ask that.
Oscar pulled away from Edgar and stood in front of him. He pushed Edgar's bangs away from his face and stared into his eyes as he said, "Edgar, you are one of my closest friends. I would never lie or bullshit you. So, I will only say this once. You are the most hardworking person I know and despite everything you've been through you haven't once given up. No matter what happens in Yokoston I know you'll be able to pull through. Even if this is the last time we speak to one another, I know you'll find a way to make your dreams come true. You don't need me or anyone else to do that. And you will. You'll be one of the greatest writers of our generation. I know this without a doubt."
After hailing a cab to take them back to their apartment, Oscar helped Edgar pack up the last of his things and the rest of his friends saw him off at the train station. Oscar threw the biggest fit. Sobbing and begging Edgar to take him with him. It pained Edgar to say goodbye to his friends, but he knew that it was for the best. He hugged everyone, which for some of them had been a first given Edgar's introverted nature.
They all offered him words of encouragement and his friend Lenore, kissed him on the cheek and said to him, "Don't forget to call me every night! Or else I'll come down to Yokoston and drag you back home myself!"
He smiled and quietly agreed to call her every night. He forced himself to pull away from Lenore, Oscar, and his other friends who had come to see him off and only allowed himself to cry when the train pulled away from the station. He quietly wondered to himself if Yokoston was just as he'd remembered it. Did he resemble the person he was before he left the city? Would this city remember him? He doubted it, but a small part of him hoped that he'd left behind some sort of impression. He knew he wasn’t as bold or daring as Oscar, but he had hope that if someone of Oscar’s characteristics liked him that meant that he too was as impressionable in his own way.