Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you’ve had them, thought you may call them a different name or nothing at all, because you think there are no words to describe. You are mostly right.
Wine and a fireplace. Shoes off, comfy couches. Candles and incense. Overflowing ashtrays if I am there, to indicate a lapse in time where no one wanted to get up. Choose your meal. Chinese food cartons, pizza boxes, plates of discarded food left on the table, glasses stained with the memory or their contents. People using other people for pillows, an interwoven design of akimbo legs and lowered heads, like those potholders you can make with a loom. There isn’t a need for sentimentality. It’s been made by the scene, marked by whatever impetus that has brought you all to one room and the night has been made long and senseless.
“Tell us a story, Templeton.”
I don’t have many close friends who among themselves share the same stretch of memories, but they are there, spread out over miles, the same worn miles we travel to find each other, with whatever occasions are best for stilled and chilled moments.
This is my story, I think, as I pass with a sagging wave of my hand. And it is enough for tonight.
It is when you catch yourself singing along to something all in the room recall, as if from the same porthole in time we are afforded, the portholes that come from having a memory. It is the acceptance that you have had a life, enough that you can look back and see something substantial. It’s not just high school or college anymore, but also the rest of your life, what of it lies behind you, behind everyone else in the room.
They don’t happen too often, I’d think, where you could take them for granted. The world is too big and draws us all away so far that we aren’t able to reminisce like this, and it is with good reason that people move on, and you find yourself at times feeling left behind. But you find, in that mix, that you serve as part of the body too, and you ponder which appendage you want to be or which you have simply become. And you also find that you are the leg they lean on when rising to leave, you are the pivot in their hip that turns them, just as they are the blood in your veins.
There is a place, even among the rat race, for cheesy moments like these. You need them, though you don’t know it until it’s there, or when you’re caught hoping for them in future reunions or new gatherings. They turn all silly and giggly as the night wanes and you lose track of time, or rather, time loses track of you, and you’re allowed to wander for while, tethered to reality in only the slightest sense. We all have our preferences of songs for the soundtrack or scenes outside; we are allowed to vary because we have to in order to make it work. And afterwards the world is a bit brighter, harsher, and you are eager to get back into it, carrying with you the totems of what you found here, and what you’ve left here to come back to next time.