Tom and I left his friend’s party last two in the morning. We stumbled drunk through the streets of San Francisco, commenting on the bitter air. Tom, the gentleman that he always was, offered me his coat as we trudged up hills back to the hotel room we were sharing for the evening.
We weren’t lovers. No, that was untrue. We loved music and silly songs, dance parties and clove cigarettes. We loved each other, but in the most friendly type way. Lovers didn’t share secrets the way Tom and I did. Lovers didn’t text each other in the middle of the night, saying that they were lonely and the other called them moments later with a concerned voice filled with care. We were better than lovers, I always thought.
We laughed about the night. I wrapped the houndstooth material together around my middle, thinking about the grand applause we both received at the end of the evening. I told Tom’s friend that he could play the ukulele well and in rebuttal, Tom told him that I could sing. The evening ended with our tinny rendition of “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” a song, for some reason, I held close to me. Maybe it’s the light strumming or the simple lyrics. I always wanted to cry every time I sang it quietly to myself.
I stripped down to my undergarments and started jumping on the bed. I knew it was a childish thing to do at the age of twenty-seven, bouncing up and down on an expensive hotel mattress but I stopped caring when Tom joined in. I felt like I was five years old again. My entire body felt free and I was in the company of my best friend. It was like my birthday, Christmas and my favorite concert had rolled into this sole magical event. Our neighbors banged on the walls, jealous of our constant laughter. When we heard the final knock on our door, we stopped jumping, got ice and crawled into bed.
I asked Tom if I could lean into him and snuggle up against his warmth. He extended his arm and wrapped it around my shoulder. It was the first time in weeks I’ve been touched this way and it was a touch that my body craved. I missed feeling special like this. Perhaps I was crazy, always looking for the wrong type of attention. I knew that I was incredibly needy and had issues with codependency and intimacy. But right at that moment, none of that matter. I focused on Tom’s breathing as a tear fell down my cheek. I didn’t bother to wipe it away and I hoped that Tom didn’t notice.
I felt at home. My heart burned of it. It was like listening to the strong crescendo of my favorite song. Or climbing up a steep hill just to watch the sun set. That sense of beauty and perfection. It was something that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I was missing my former home of skyscrapers and brownstones. I was lonely and always so tired. Those feelings were gone now. I felt alive. Just as alive as Tom’s heaving chest. I threw a silent prayer to the ceiling, thanking God for the memories of tonight and my friend who unconditionally gave me love and strength to go on. I kissed Tom on the cheek and drifted off to sleep.