something happened. something that is both good and awful.
because for an hour, i felt the happiest i'd been in ten years' time.
and because i went on this little mission to do some very real soul searching. and i was severely wishing that i'd get over an age old love for coffee. the person, not the ground up beans. i feel it necessary at this time to also declare that the beans are responsible for the title of this blog, NOT the person.
i'm going to be so tired tomorrow. but i'm going to try to get over that, because all i want to do is write. and type. for DAYS.
i don't even know where to start, really. i mean, all of my best things were about him. he is my ultimate muse. and not in the cheesy, movie plot way. i literally become a flood of words at the mere thought of him. and apparently, some things never change.
in my daydreams of him, we're only hanging out innocently as friends, the way that we were so many years ago. but he wants to know everything, and i want to tell him everything and know everything, and i want to start with music.
i was left with an image that was both glorified and rusty, in my mind. how i remembered him, how he appeared in my dreams and daydreams and the nightdreams that keep you up at night. the him of 9 years ago.
but, in person. living, breathing, twinkly eyed warmth brimming over with hugs for me and eyes for me, and hanging on every word. my open mouthed gasps over his 'i know. i KNOW' comments. over things that no one else might be so into. but that were always for me, and to a greater extent, him.
i started this mini-obsession about 2 months ago, if i had to guess. the monster obsession, about 12 years ago. the mini obsession involves a truly amazingly mind-blowingly incredible show called the universe that hulu graciously posts for repeated viewings.
the first couple were average-ish for me. i was getting lost, i was unable to focus on it, without my mind wandering to another place and time, trying to relive moments.
but something happened. the moon. mars. jupiter. saturn.
the moon, three times. mars twice. jupiter twice. saturn, indefinitely.
watching these history channel documentaries cracked my mind wide open to a whole set of things that i'd been taught in something like the third grade. those rediculous coat hanger styrofoam solar system mobiles. my very educated mother just served us nine pies. they teach you nothing about what is really going on out there. in deep space:
how many earths fit in each planet. how many orbiting moons the planets have. the fact that planets aren't all solid masses, that some are gasses. they never taught me that. and they have moons nothing like ours, that orbit them, with frozen water, looking exactly like a snapshot of earth, at some time in its life.
one night, two weeks ago. watching saturn for the umpteenth time. cgi pullaway effect. leaving the surface of earth, looking out into space, showing saturn just sitting there. in the middle of the fucking UNIVERSE. just hanging there. suspended in the air.
and suddenly...it started to sink into my brain. the sheer unbelievable-ness of it. some huge fucking ball of swirling gas with rings (that aren't rings at all - just particles spinning around at thousands of miles per hour), just rotating in vast fucking NOTHINGNESS, 20 or 30 years worth of traveling to arrive at it, sometime in the 2020's, via satellite.
i stopped believing in god at that exact moment. a slave of science. of astronomy.
back to the story at hand. present day.
so there i was. on a saturday, aptly, perfectly. the namesake of the planet saturn (*i learned of this from the documentary). i had put myself together this night, in such a way that i felt like i looked as incredible as i felt. for the first time in probably 8 years, maybe longer. i felt GOOD. and i looked adorable. and this is not something that i would ever admit aloud. i never feel like i look cute. but this night? well, this night, i knew it. a total makeover. put together by my mother. because she knew how much i needed it.
and i arrive to the bar. to nina's group of three, with my legal little sister in tow for the first time, ever.
lemondrops for three. long island iced tea from my sister to me. and a second from me, to be shared.
next group of three arrives. talking. a party of one - all of the oldest friends, from 13 years ago. talking about the past 13 years that we'd missed.
and nina's face lit up so much, so suddenly, that i thought the person she was looking most forward to seeing had showed. i turn my entire body to the person she is beaming at. searching, searching, searching. for what felt like 10 seconds, but was really probably only 3, for recognition.
coffee. right there, standing in front of me. smiling at me. i was at such a complete and total loss that i don't remember if there was an immediate hug or not.
there was small talk, during which i didn't catch any of what was said. well, very little. what i got was that two months ago, he was within 20 city blocks of me. and i didn't know it. other than that, names were escaping me left and right. i was catching scarce details of his career since i'd left off.
luckily, nina was paying very close attention, filing away little bits of information that she would reproduce later, when she created the most amazing evening of my life in the last nine years.
he got pulled away, stuck in other conversations with more recent friends. my interaction with him was very limited, and left one million questions in my mind.
he left. and i cannot explain it. though he said he'd be back, and i was feeling something that was beyond genuine intention, i knew he wouldn't come back. i forced myself to not turn to watch as he left out the door and walked quickly away to the right, in his fast paced theatrical shuffle. i only allowed myself to see his blur moving away from me, out of the corner of my eye. and i couldn't contain my smile. i was lit, and lit up from the inside out in two ways, and i didn't care who knew. and then there was a very calm feeling that came over me, as i thought, 'this isn't over yet, there will be more to this.'
the evening wore on. two hours of catching up with old friends, and two blue moons later, the party is over. we are weary from opening the bar and trying to keep up with drama, loudly, for hours. exhausted and in need of a change of scenery, and fresh air to smoke in, nina suggests taking a walk around the avenue. so we pack up and go.
she name-dropped the bar where he said he was headed, on a very specific mission to find this boy for me so that i can ask him why he never kissed me. and as we walk up to the bar, he is shuffling our direction, from somewhere else. he swoops in, all 'hey', and nina says they're on their way, and the three leave, in my mind, linked three arm in arms.
leaving me. and my sister. and him. standing in front of me.
(i was incredibly drunk. i rarely drink. i'd never had a long island iced tea before, much less, two. my memory of the events might not be entirely accurate. but this is exactly how i'm remembering it. and documenting it for posterity.)
and this boy, asking me what we're doing. i don't know what i said, but it was immediatley followed by something like a, 'come on.' and trying to keep up in drunken heels, a pace too quick, too excited. while he tried to grasp the fact that i'd been married. for a decent chunk of time, which he repeatedly called a decade. stopping in the middle of the street to stare at me in disbelief.
we three stepped into the dark bar.
and up to the bar to get a drink after a brief introduction to a man at the door. it's an hour before last call.
when i offered, my sister refused one, instead took my camera, and the sweater i was too warm for, off my arm. and walks out of my sights, leaving me alone to relish the moment. to connect. again. flashes flashed twice. and she was gone.
she was making sacrifices for me. for the night that she knew that i so desperately needed. entertaining herself for my happiness. my elation. instead of letting me take her out for her 21st drinks.
and they (the sacrifices) are still making me cry, thinking about what an awesome sister i have anyways, but how completely selfless she was right in that moment. and how she instinctively knew what to do.
and he showed a vulnerability for the first time ever, to me. after being the one to come to me, for the first time ever, only a couple hours before.
due to my drunken heels, i was taller than him. and he didn't remember me being that way, and said so. with a dissatisfaction in his voice. i kicked them off and put his arm on my shoulder, showing him the way he used to place his arm.
to lean on me, chest against my back, chin on the top of my head. i have never been able to get it out of my head. and on this night, the same elbowed triangles that used to lean onto me to hold him up in cold doorways when he was tired and just wanted to go home and drink wine with me. they were on my shoulder, at the accurate height, where i'm at least four inches shorter than him.
so he buys me a beer. and i lean toward the bar, to level the field. and we talk, taking turns, about pets, and jobs, about the place that we call 'home'. and about 'the universe'. how i have been up for weeks watching, and how he has one waiting for him at home. our biggest commonality of nights past, laying on my down blanket in his grass, his driveway; on his bed with our heads sticking out his bedroom window, stargazing for hours and counting falling stars.
and nina was so afraid of me missing a chance, and forming a new regret with him. i had intended to ask him why he'd never kissed me, in our nights of sleeping together for weeks on end. and i was drunk enough to ask. hands DOWN.
the night before i left for this trip, kit came to hang out and see me off. we talked of telescopes and my recurring nightmares, and 'the universe'. and about making a date for dark sky park for the upcoming quadrantids shower. it was the topic of conversation.
but with all there was to be said for 'the universe', and our intentions regarding the universe, and his experiences that left me dumbfounded. including the one where he told me of his telescope that points to planets and stars on command. and i asked if he could see saturn. and he said, 'yes.' and all i could do was shake my head in jealousy and disbelief.
time passed, topics changed. flowed flawlessly from one thing to the next. not a single awkward gap. only momentary pauses in conversation to hug me and tell me how happy he was to see me, and how much he'd missed spending time together.
the lights flickered off and on, signaling last call. minutes later, they came on and stayed on. and i was trying to focus on his eyes, and on his words, his lips as he made them. and i couldn't. i was spinny. dizzy from drinking, and from being with him. eyes dart from eye to eye to eye to eye, nose, lips, mustache, beard, lips, nose, eye to eye and over again. searching his face for some hint. some sign. that i wasn't making it up. that he was as happy and excited as i was. not like i was the same sad little puppy following.
and seeing his face in that bright, tell-tale light. the one that means, 'take a good look, make sure that you know what you are doing, and then leave together.' his face in all that light, with all of its imperfections. it had never looked better. NEVER.
i need to say something here. either he is really good at his game, or something else was going on. we hugged for minutes. just like we used to. more than once. a hug that made me feel whole again.
i nearly couldn't force myself to let go. and why i didn't try to kiss his cheek and drunkenly miss? well, i'll never know, because i always think of these things two days later, when i'm awake and can't sleep at night. right now.
it was over. the magic. the coincidences that put us together for that blink of time. the rush of it all.
but something happened:
he asked how long i was in town, and for my number. and called my phone so i'd have his. and i couldn't do it. in those last, fleeting, dreaded seconds, i couldn't ask him why he never kissed me. for fear of fucking up something in the next two nights. i couldn't ask a stupid question like that, signaling to him that yes, i had thought about him and those non existent kisses for the past 12 years. it couldn't happen in that moment. i chickened out, on a gamble. for more time spent before i left town for eight more months.
i turned away from him. and did not look back to see if he watched me leave. trying to be strong, but feeling incredibly weak and as though i was floating out into the street on a bursting drunken bubble.
i waited 40 hours. then i asked him to show me saturn for my birthday. and he did not offer. and i left, heartbroken as always. by the boy with the hold over me. the one who rocks me. who still has it after all these years. who makes me happier in those tiny moments than anyone could, doing anything for me, for the rest of my life.
i know that it isn't over yet.
we were holding hands. old friends who had other intentions for each other, but who had never actually followed through. we were in a bar, in my new town. it was our second beer of 12% abv. 'hey...' slightly slurry, waited a second, 'why didn't you ever kiss me?'
i'd been practicing. saying it without a quaking voice. which i nailed at this opportunity. but also, had made up a little pneumonic device for myself. for gauging his reaction, the immediate one, and the secondary, verbal one.
look, wait, listen, eyes.
i think i mouthed it, waiting for him to answer me.
look in his eyes when you say it. look for that twinkle.
wait for the pause, count the milliseconds as he edits his words.
listen to the words he chooses, and what he puts emphasis on.
show him for a full second, with your eyes.
twinkle. definitely. one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, really? that long? what's going on in there?? 'i...i don't know.' eyes show warmth, tearing up in expectation.
he repeated, 'i don't know.'
'but would you? right now. if you could. if you thought i wanted you to.'
'i don't know.' this time, laughing a little, only the tiniest bit exasperated.
'well,' gauging, gauging. safe? 'i wish that you would.'
he just sat there, holding my hand, which was sweating. 'come on.'
we got up, he led me quickly out the door and to the left, for a walk in a winter night that was much warmer inside the bar. he didn't drop my hand.
'why would you do that? this is so good. let's just stay the way this is, right now.'
but i didn't want to. my face fell, he saw it, too. and i didn't want him to. he'd conditioned me to not tell him how i really felt, not in elaborate analogies, drummed up by him as some stupid test that told him to break it off and disconnect and let me fall away again, so that i'd always be trailing him.
'i've been making pretty big decisions lately. and this is going to be the next one. i want you to kiss me, right now, becuase you want to. but only if you want to. and only if you mean it.'
and he did. right there. in the middle of the sidewalk, under a streetlight that had been standing there for a hundred years or more. though it didn't last as long as i'd wanted, there was enough of a sweetness that showed me that he meant it.
and he led me by my hand again. he didn't know where he was going, at least i didn't think that he did. we were walking to the prettiest park, nestled in the belly of my big city. i'd been there so many times, almost only wishing that he would someday be there with me. it was my dream. i'd given it up years ago, tired of waiting for him, but the park was a more recent dream of only the last six years.
his pace slowed. we'd walked blocks in silence. my mind was racing, my heart in my throat. i could hardly breathe the cold air burning my face and lips and lungs. we sat in the grass. reclined on our backs, the padding of our winter coats protecting us from frozen blades of dead grass that was green only weeks before.
we stared at the sky, holding hands. i was whole. it started to snow.