The Same Boy You're Always Known


The last time Andy saw Sid Phillips was at graduation. He’d already received his diploma, grinning and giddy, watching his mom record the entire thing while wiping her eyes discreetly, Molly rolling her eyes at them both. As they approached the P’s in the alphabet he thought of Sid, not recalling whether he was there or not or even having seen him recently. He vaguely remembered Sid walking into a sequential II math class a few months ago; his eyes downcast, headphones permanently in his ears.

Andy briefly thought about offering to tutor Sid, but then his mind flashed on Sid walking down the halls, pushing Andy against his locker while laughing toothily and mocking, “Still playing with those toys, dork?” before taking off with some stoner. He opted against it and can’t remember seeing Sid since.

He listened intently as the principal called out the names. Michael Phillips came and went, complete with a pretentious fist pump, and Principal Stevens jumped to Miranda Pitt. Andy looked out into the distance and saw a figure near the tree line, smoking a cigarette and wearing all black. He was gone an instant later, flicking the butt into the grass and giving the school the finger without looking back.

Now its summer and Andy’s bored. He spends most of his time reading in his room, on his computer, or bowling at Pizza Planet with some friends from the hockey team. Mainly he keeps to himself, preferring to lose himself in books rather than engage the real world. If he’s honest with himself, he’s simply transferred his fantasy playtime with his toys for such epic tales as Robinson Crusoe, Great Expectations, and War and Peace.

His mom keeps mentioning a part-time job but he doesn’t see the point. He’ll be gone for school in a few months and he has no bills. Still, it makes me feel a little like a spoilt rich kid when he’s anything but. Maybe he’ll put in an application at one of the stores in the new mall.

It’s a non-descript morning, around 7am when he sees him. Andy’s leaving the house to take Molly to summer camp when he hears a garbage truck approaching. He looks up absently and freezes in the middle of the driveway; he’d recognize that skull t-shirt anywhere.

He’s stupidly charmed that Sid would re-buy a shirt from his childhood just so he could still wear it now. Andy watches as Sid pauses, hands on garbage cans. He pushes his headphones down around his neck.

“Hey,” Andy nods. He wishes he could see Sid’s eyes.

“What?” Sid barks, defensive from the get-go.

Andy feels a flash of anger. “Just saying hello, man. You still going to school?” Andy’s tone isn’t taunting or smut and he watches Sid visibly relax.

“Haven’t decided yet,” he shrugs. “This ain’t bad money. Started a few weeks ago. What about you, preppie? Going to college, then? Work on computers or some shit like that?’

Andy feels his face flush. “Library science,” he mumbles, half hoping Sid doesn’t hear him.

Sid snorts. “You’re still such a dork, Davis,” but he sounds almost affectionate and Andy’s breathing hitches.

Molly starts honking the horn impatiently. “One minute!” Andy shouts at the car. When he turns back to Sid, his goggles are now off and he’s running a hand through his hair, which looks lighter than he remembers.

Andy thinks about the day he found Sid at the playground near his old house. It was late in junior year and Andy can’t even recall why he went there that day. Sid was sitting on the spinning thing Andy used to love to go on with Woody; it felt like they were flying.

Sid was smoking and didn’t say anything when Andy sat down beside him. He kicked at the dirt, looking lost and alone and all Andy wanted was to put a hand on his knee. Sid offered him a cigarette and Andy accepted, even though he’d never smoked a day in his life. Andy still has no idea what was wrong with Sid that day, only that they spun around in a slow circle and talked quietly about music and movies, Sid never once insulting him. They stayed until it grew dark and cold. Sid didn’t say anything when Andy waved goodbye, just nodded.

Andy took a few steps and then turned back. “You going home?”

“Guess I have to,” Sid said, like the very thought was crushing his soul. Andy didn’t want to leave him.

He didn’t see Sid for days after that, and when he did Sid shoved past in the hall at school, mumbling, “Watch it, moron.” Andy stared after him, willing Sid to turn around but he didn’t and Andy’s hopes of any type of friendship forming after years of stops and starts were dashed.

Now, Andy felt like he had nothing to lose anymore. There was no more high school to act as the barrier that divided them, nothing stopping Andy from saying the words, “Listen, uh. You wanna go to Pizza Planet later?”

Sid gapes at him. “You still go to Pizza Planet? Dude, you aren’t 10 anymore.” Andy thinks a wistful look crosses Sid’s face but he can’t tell for sure.

Andy sighs heavily. “Just fucking forget it,” he huffs, turning away.

His hand is on the car door when he hears, “Andy!” He can’t remember the last time Sid said his name. He turns his head, not letting go of the handle. “5pm? I gotta take a nap after this shit.”

Andy can’t help the smile that spreads across his face. “Yeah. Cool.”

He watches the corner of Sid’s lips quirk up. “I’ll bring quarters. Maybe I’ll win you somethin’.”

Andy feels heat surge through his body, pooling in his belly. Naturally, Molly chooses that moment to rap on the window. “We’re gonna be late,” she yells through the glass.

He turns back to Sid, who has just finished throwing the garbage into the truck. “I dunno, I’m pretty damn good at my claw games,” says Andy, and realizes how flirty he sounds in that moment.

“We’ll see,” snorts Sid, but his eyes are smiling. “Later,” he calls as he mounts the truck.

Andy smiles, teeth and all, and gets in the car.



~~~~~~~~ Back to Toy Story ~~~~~~~~


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