We were sitting in the bathroom, I perched on the bathtub and him on the sink when he told me and I felt my heart sink. News like this shouldn’t ever be spoken aloud. We walked around the rest of day, not altogether separate, with it hanging over us. Our minds clouded, we left for different places with the same thoughts, and as the night passed, it grew and grew until it lurked behind me whenever I moved. I slept soundly, under the blanket of a familiar stranger, his pillow holding my head as I slept. I didn’t think to wonder why I could turn over and not feel constricted, but instead I wondered if he missed his pillow or would mind that I had taken that spot.
I woke, folded things, arranged them as they were before the board games had progressed, and rushed back to school, to shower, to train. Backward, music drifting through my ears, I sat as the metal cage pulled me toward the city. It wasn’t even noon, yet my day had ended long before it began. It ended yesterday, in that little bathroom in that little room in that building. I waited, noting that the drizzle was perfect atmosphere for a somber day such as this. I waited, watching faces. Sometimes, they’d turn back, letting their eyes hold my glance as they walked away, but I did not smile, I did not break the eye contact. I did not care.
He came through the ominous turnstiles, the long walk began. I followed behind, no idea where we were going. Street, street, light, left, right, straight. Walk. Walk. Walk. Finally, I saw it and he explained. We went into the elevator, silent, not daring to say what both of us were thinking.
I sat in a chair, reading shallow fashion magazines, while I waited, and when he came out, I looked up, expecting tears and defeat but seeing instead only past him as he pulled my hand and told me we were getting lunch.
The minute the door closed behind us, we hugged, the kind of hug you see in movies. He picked me up off my feet and we walked like that, embracing, back to the elevator. His smile told me everything, and suddenly the weight was gone. I held him down the elevator, in the street. And we smiled and laughed, and joy was back again.
He bought me lunch, at the favorite diner, under an el station. I had a whole grain waffle and some fresh fruit.
I made it back in time for class.
Here I am, carrying things out.
Today was the last lecture of my freshman year of college. Mom cried when I texted her from class. She’s been missing me lately for some reason. It’s probably because this is the point where I realize that I’m yearning to stay away. Not, of course, because I don’t want to go home, but because I’m finally happy, comfortable, enjoying this city for what it is, and suddenly I’m going to have to go back to rules. I’m used to coming and going as I please, whenever, no matter the time. I’m used to the lifestyle that goes along with this place.
I miss you too Mom. Don’t worry. I talk about you all the time and Emily can’t wait to me you. Steve thinks he’ll be able to stop into Denver, and maybe you can meet him then. I miss our house and all the noise, even though there’s plenty of noise in the apartment for Mike and I put together and more. I miss the chaos, the clutter (even though it’s actually way worse at the apartment….), and the fact that no one else has what we have. So don’t think I’ve forgotten anything. I miss the smell of our house, my bathtub, my big bed, my green bean, the bright yellow kitchen table, searching for food in cupboards (although I do that here an awful lot too), you and me time. Blah blah blah. Sentimental crap, I know. But I’m trying to make you feel better, because today is going to be a good day and an even better night!!!!!
I’m 1/4 of the way through college! (undergrad, at least!) and i’m going to celebrate. hard.