"Oh. Hi. It's you!"
A friend of a friend answered the doorbell. I should have known the moment I saw the
lights were out and all the cars in the driveway had left. I suddenly felt like a complete idiot doing a social call at 0330 in the morning. The warm-up had ended here at half nine before we all headed to the jam session at the pub.
I hadn't seen her in almost fifteen years before tonight. She was anything but an
eighth-grader now, just as I was anything but a budding rock star.
"Yeah. I heard you were having a party here?"
"Well, no. I told everyone I was too tired and called it off. I think I had enough during
She had opened the door ever so slightly, peering out with a surprised set of brown
"You want to come in or something? You look cold."
"Err...no. I don't want to bother you being asleep and all."
Her bathrobe and sleep-warm body couldn't cope with the arctic outside. The decision
"It's fifteen below outside. I'll fix you some coffee before you get on
home. Are you staying with your folks while you're up here?"
She opened the door a bit so I could step inside the hallway. My nose whisked by her hair
on the way through the door, leaving a faint tingle of cigarettes and perfume in my beat-up
sensory system. Electric guitars and amplifiers does that to you.
"Yeah. My old room. They changed it a bit the thirteen years since I stayed in it the last time."
"I doubt you need any of your old stuff now."
"You're right" I said and tried smiling with my gone-numb-from-fifteen-below face.
"Bedrooms are for sleeping nowadays."
She kept smiling and ordered my socks and jacket off. I kept the t-shirt and jeans.
"Have a seat while I get the coffee machine going."
From the kitchen she stole an occasional glimpse of the figure in the big leather sofa.
The figure in the big leather sofa returned the favour, wondering if the
smiles inside came from the unexpected and pleasant hospitality or the fact that his body
was slowly thawing in room temperature.
She returned with coffee and two sandwiches.
"I rented a movie. You want to watch it with me? I reckon this is as good a time to watch
it as any."
So we drank warm coffee and ate sandwiches under a wool blanket at four in the morning,
while George Clooney and Brad Pitt were being sharply dressed in Las Vegas.
I woke up at eight thirty, her head on my shoulder. The two half eaten sandwiches and
cold coffee were bathed in the flickering static from the television set.
"Nothing" I said, slightly uncomfortable from the four hours of half sitting, half lying
"In the movie, silly!" she said, yawning, stretching and laughing at the same time.
Then we laughed the way people laugh when they don't really know what else to do while I
tried to find my socks and shoes. We shared a cigarette while the final minutes of
the leaving ritual came and went.
"You coming to my cousin's party on new year's eve?"
"Yup. I got an invitation."
She kissed my forehead while I stood in the
doorway trying to say thank you, goodbye, see you later or something appropriate for the
situation. I couldn't think of anything.
"See you then."
It was still fifteen below and no daylight outside. I lit another cigarette and went home to my old room.