I can't sleep
I'm in the middle of several small disasters
right now...none of them involve me specifically, but I'm in the middle nonetheless.
Somehow I can't stop thinking about the past. I'm lying in my friends bed (he's passed out in his recliner) thinking about things that happened almost five years ago. Things that were wonderful for me, they still are I guess. Maybe that's why I can't stop thinking about them.
It was like we had our own place. We could kind of play house at the tender age of 18. We could have a beer and watch Bruce Lee movies at 2 am with no fear of retribution.
You see, his father took frequent trips. I never asked where he went, I just knew that Will had to take care of the cat, and he had a key. His mother had accepted that he prefered staying at his dad's and since they lived in relatively close proximity, he would often walk there and spend the night. Fortunately many of my friends lived in that same neighborhood, so the stage was easily set for devious ploys to spend the night together.
My friend Maragaret's house was a zoo. Six kids running and screaming and fighting all the time. Her parents were relativley unaware of her comings and goings and those of her friends. They were rarely suprised or annoyed to find her friends asleep on the floor or on couches. (they were however upset the time Lisa and I decided that it would a great idea to make chocolate chip pancakes for the family. An ill-fated plan indeed, but that's another story) It was no problem for me to tell Margaret that I was telling my mom I was there. Margaret probably wasn't going to go home that night anyway, it was just a precaution. I would then walk from her place to his father's on Bernard Street. It was a nice walk. (and I'm not really one for walking) It took me through one of the more picturesque neighborhoods in town, full of old houses and flowering garden paths. Even in the winter when everything seems washed out and grey, this place was magical.
I would climb the creaky wooden stairs of the 30's style apartment building, check on the plants that lived on the landing (no one wanted to claim them, but everyone kind of looked after them) and knock on the slightly-warped front door of his dad's place. He would let me into the living room where I was assaulted by the blistering radiator heat, which had two settings, sweltering or Artic. We'd sit for a while eating sandwiches and watching TV. Will's dad had the kind of TV that displayed an abbreviated name for each channel, Will would get a kick out of changing the names to things vaguely insulting or obscene. There was rarely anything in the fridge except for beer and condiments, his dad was a true bachelor.
This particular time was strange and beautiful. Even in retrospect, I still cherish every minute of it. When I knocked he answered almost immediately, pulling me to him and kissing me. We made out in the living room for a while, in a halting sort of way. Even knowing that his father was in another country could not allay the fear that I would hear his keys in the door and we would be caught. We decided to move it into his father's room as per usual. We never went to the room Will kept at this apartment. Always to his father's bed. It was bigger, sure. That wasn't it, though. I think it was because we were doing an adult thing (even in our untried and ignorant way) and it felt better to do it in adult surroundings. No glassy-eyed band posters watching you. No sketchbooks strewn across the floor or piles of dirty clothes in front of the closet door. This room had sheets that matched the bedspread that matched the curtains. It had original paintings his father had done, not the post (but not by much) adolescent drawings of an aspiring, if often uninspired, artist. It had huge windows that let in the stark winter sunlight. We made love in the afternoon, defying the idea that we should do our dirty deeds in the dark, in the dead of night. We were young and strong and defiant and I loved him. More than anything I loved feeling of his arms around me, better than anything he could do to make me writhe or bite my lip, it was his arms that sent me reeling. Just to feel posessed, wanted, comforted and protected, something that I severely lack in my life right now, was wonderful beyond words. He told me that I was beautiful and there with him, I was. He held me for a long time afterward, something he was not prone to do. I lay with my back to the wall, my head resting on his shoulder. I watchted the last few leaves clinging desperately to the tree outside and realized that the sky is bluer in the winter. So much more crisp and dazzling. I stared at his face for an eternity after that. His hawkish nose, high cheekbones and soft brown eyes were more beautiful in that moment than they had ever been or were since. I knew he didn't love me, not like I loved him, but it was okay. I was okay, something I couldn't generally say about myself. We had made everything alright in that afternoon.
I can take comfort in that memory now.