Sophomore year of college, I was sleeping at Jeremy and Tom's. Tom slept on a futon in the living room every night, never in his tinfoil-lined room. There were Marlboro reds and bags of pot and ashtrays scattered on the glass-topped coffee table, the end tables. The coffee table books were The Real Mother Goose, an issue of Martha Stewart Living, an issue of Rolling Stone. Under them, the glass was spotless. We windexed once a week. We vaccuumed. We used paper towels instead of saving rags. Tom had no rags. Nothing was out of place.
It was Tom's apartment; it wasn't Jeremy's, though they were both there on the lease. Tom controlled the public space; he slept in it every night, woke up there in the morning, half the time still in his crisp wool pants by Calvin Klein. I woke him up so we wouldn't be late. Every morning. It was drafty and cold; that winter it snowed and snowed even in early November, and we were swamped every day in the driveway, trying to scrape out Tom's car.
I came out of Jeremy's room every morning, flanneled and wool-socked against the air. Jeremy wouldn't ever go wake Tom up; he always turned over and said how cold it was and how tired and just a few more minutes. And we needed to get up, we needed to go to school. Tom needed to go to school. At least he should have needed to. And so I got them up.
I would end up shaking him by the shoulder, after talking had failed. Tom would fumble up out of the blanket, shake a cigarette out of the pack, and light it, still lying down, head tilted a strange angle. Then he would ask me to make him a glass of tea. Tom was always nicer before he woke up. I always said yes.
We had painted the kitchen from its original butter yellow to Tom's own scheme. It was light blue, with navy contrast and silver trim. All the drawer pulls, silver; all the hinges, silver. It was even colder than it looked.
So I padded into the freezing kitchen, shuddering in the back door draft. I took a glass from the perfect line in the perfect cupboard; I put the kettle on to boil; I unwrapped a tea bag and set it in the glass. It was always a glass, one of a set of matched cylinders. I watched the tannins seep out, pluming into the water, amber against the cold morning in the window. I watched the condensation gather on the rim, the steam rush upward. The glass was so hot in my hand. And I padded back out, off the glittering linoleum, and handed it to Tom. He might have been sitting up by then.
So I would leave him there to drink it, and go try to roust out Jeremy.
On the drive, I always sat in the back seat, listening to Tom bitch at the radio. There was no heat back there; my feet were always numb before we got to school, and it barely a ten minute drive. I tried to keep moving, to tuck my feet up under my legs, to get Tom to turn the heat up.
That winter, I was so cold I hurt.