His name was Piglet. Like, right there on his birth certificate.
No one teased him, though. He was tough before he even knew what being tough meant.
I chipped my tooth the first time I hung out with Piglet. Even now, I still say it was my fault. Piglet made that clear.
A month ago, I tracked him down. He wasn't hard to find on Facebook with that name. From what I could tell, he was normal, so I sent him a friend request. I thought that would be the end of it.
I got a message from him the next day. He said we should meet sometime since we lived in the same city and all. I didn't want to, but I didn't want to say no either, so I agreed.
We met on a Thursday afternoon at a bar he knew. The place had cable news on their tv's with the sound low, but you could hear it if you paid attention. I was half-watching a report about cancer and alcohol when I felt a firm slap on my back shoulder. Piglet kept his hand there and with the other he shook my hand enthusiastically. I found myself smiling.
"You want one?" I gestured to my beer.
"Naw. Thanks. Don't drink." He ordered a Shirley Temple like it was the most normal thing in the world.
"You know, I'm going to get one of those next time I'm in a bar," I said. I meant it.
He made friendly eye contact the whole time we talked, which normally would have made me uncomfortable. He laughed a lot at his own jokes, but they were funny so I found it endearing. We started crying with laughter once when he told a story about a guy we knew back in the day who had traded him a pack of cigarettes for his meatball sub. The guy put on, like, a hundred pounds in the last decade and, he swore, it all started back to that sandwich.
"Jokes on me though. I'm still smoking." I could tell from his voice.
I kind of wanted another beer, but didn't think it'd be proper etiquette when he was on a soft drink.
"Let's do this again sometime," he suggested.
I smiled as I agreed.
Piglet walked out with me. He was in the middle of another anecdote as I came up to my car, or, I should say, where my car had been. "... and so Tommy's got this sister, right, and she's—" he interrupted himself when he saw my expression. "What? What's wrong?"
"My car," I looked up and down the street as I felt my heart palpitate. "It's not here. I parked right here."
Piglet did a good job acting. I was convinced for awhile. The whole time he was talking about police reports and how the world is bullshit and all that. I was sold.
He lit a cigarette while we waited for the police. "And it was brand new, right?"
"How'd you know?"
He took a drag of the cigarette and made the same friendly eye contact he'd made before, "What do you mean, how'd I know?" he paused. "Facebook."