You know what we would have done on a night like this? A nothing night. A no party night. A no work night?
I’d have wandered over to your place or you to mine.
We’d have done nothing, together.
Nothing, like watching one of my roommates’ movies. You, going to bathroom halfway through. Forty-five minutes going by. It becoming clear you’re doing that thing again, where you talk to yourself in the mirror and disappear into some alternate reality. You found it much more real than this.
Years later I’d visit you in London, a bad time for you. I saw someone touch your shoulder at a pub and you struggled not to cry. You hadn’t felt human contact in ages. You had everything in London; you had room to dream. It fell away and left you crying at even the faintest touch of something real.
I remember how you wanted to go to dinner. When we sat down you realized you couldn’t eat. You kept disappearing to the bathroom then too. Every ten minutes you’d leave me alone for fifteen. Then you’d hop back to the table, refreshed as if nothing was wrong.
Or on a nothing night like this I’d go to your place, sipping tea over tarot cards. Cards spread on the table of your dive apartment. Your over-the-top, over-sweet and over-lovely gay roommate twirling his hair behind us, trying to figure out why we’re like this. But not minding either.
You were covering his rent. He, having been exiled from Africa by his royal mother when it became clear he was gay, was sent here to grow up at the edge of the earth. Well, he knew how to evoke sympathy. Months later you were both about to be kicked out and she reappeared. I remember you saying how grand she was. She took one look at your sty and said the two of you were moving into a gorgeous new locale. You never did. She died suddenly. Assassination was assumed. And he inherited enough money to move to a better city and to never be heard from again. And even though he left without a trace, we just hoped he was finally okay.
On a nothing night like this we’d walk the streets, drunk. Talking about our years of friendship, the future, books and movies. We had nothing and it was everything.
I felt like I could touch the sky. Other people would get solemn and depressed when they were drunk. They were doing it wrong. We had the world unfolding in front of us. We were greatness. In nothing, we were great.
Now, a decade later, we repeat the past and try to forge ahead.
You, somewhere in Germany, touring with a small theatre show. Hating the other actors and describing over Skype how your visits to the grocery store are the most exciting part of the week.
Me, in a nice apartment and steady job. Being happy and fulfilled in this version of a life and hoping to start the next chapter.
Both of us having lived it. Freedom, failure, tying and getting up again.
We talk about living together again, like we did on and off in that commune your family owned.
It’s not what either of us really wants. But it is the natural progression of this. If we both live out our lives in this never-ending chapter.
You want a family in a rural area with a lot of land, and the love of your life that you’ve never described in much detail. He’s some faceless man with no attributes.
I want a bestselling novel and the love of my life who’s exciting and comforting in the same breath. A child who plays piano in finely-appointed surroundings. We both want families somehow. Even though neither of us finds happiness in domestic things.
Maybe in the next chapter we will. The next incarnation of ourselves, as they unfold, will find comfort in the faceless men who’ll contain our greatness and channel it into the next twenty years of domesticity and creative on-the-sides.
Maybe in the next chapter you’ll still roam the earth in piecemeal artistic endeavors and wanting for something you can’t creatively commit to.
Maybe I’ll keep building a career and credentials and be giving my heart to men who are taken, emotionally or otherwise, keeping me bound in my dreams and free in my world.
Until the next five, ten years wind down as the past ones have and nature will decide for us that we’ll never have that life at all. The rural family, the urban one.
We’ll have each other. And when we drink, and laugh and roam the streets, looking back at a quarter century of friendship, will we feel like we have it all? Will we feel great again? Having passed over our 20s and 30s of choices – domestic, or not, this man, or pass – and be back at the abject freedom of a blank slate. Will we be hopeful children again? The world rolling out in front of us? Looking at the next several decades as our unique adventures to claim, as individuals?
Is that the vision of the future we are both headed towards?
On a nothing night like this, in a few years, will we be back to tarot cards and movie nights?
Or will we be Skyping with toddlers on our laps, holding up their arms to wave into the screen at a distant friend they’ll meet when they are old enough to fly and know their “aunt” and “cousin”?
Or, perhaps, one of us will get this future and the other will be alone. We are twins, despite our differences. We are the same in our uniqueness and in having each other there has always been comfort.
We’re both glad to be out of our 20s. We’re both glad to know who we are and be proud of how far we’ve come. But in nothing nights like this one, being in our early 30s is hard, too. No night should be a nothing night now. My emails don’t tell me they love me and make me feel like it’s going to be okay. Your German groceries, I assume, don’t either.
Is this where we were really headed on those nothing nights when we thought life had a script and we would work within it, naturally?
My friend, I miss you and you lament how much you miss me. I don’t think either of us want to think so much of each other in this way. There should be more. Will there be? Here we are.
Author: Lea Del
Author Bio: Lea is the nicest, most caring bitch you’ll ever meet. Sometimes she writes.
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