I’m holding on to something. I called Odette the other day and she told me about her “something.” Why did it seem so easy for her to tell me? I envy that.
When we were growing up, she was always so confident. She had no fears when it came to meeting boys. Sometimes she broke their hearts and sometimes they broke hers. She used to tell me, “Life is all about the twists and turns. Be open to new directions.” I’d never tell her this now, but maybe she was right.
The direction of my life took a detour when I met Adam at the bar that night.
Noun: A long or roundabout route taken to avoid something or to make a visit along the way.
The narrow room was lit by the string lights and the small white candles on the bar. Only a few people were left at this time of night so I spotted him as soon as I arrived.
“Don’t worry,” I pitifully murmured as I guided myself to the bar. I tripped a little as I attempted to sit on the stool next to him.
“Wow! Here you are!” he said. His friendly face and familiar voice made my body relax immediately. He looked exactly like I remembered. He was wearing a dark but faded t-shirt and jeans. His face was still pale and his hair was scruffy and almost black.
“Yes, it’s so good to see you. I’m so glad you called me,” I said as I wondered what it was that I was doing with this old Florida friend in this beautiful bar in Brooklyn.
“What is new with you?” He asked as he signaled to the bartender.
“Whisky,” I ordered. I thought for a millisecond that I would convince him that my life was settled and I was doing well. I sighed. “Well, things are really not that great,” I admitted. I felt like crying. I sipped a bit of my shot and then proceeded to tell Adam about my fucked up relationship with Jonathan even though I had not told anyone else.
“Isn’t it funny? You know, the way things work out?” he asked when I was finished pouring out my relationship garbage.
We both continued to inform each other of our most important stories, leaving irrelevant talk about the weather to people who had more time. He told me about his divorce and that he had always thought about me throughout the years.
“Do you know the song that’s playing?” he asked.
“It’s the Smith’s,” I answered.
“It’s Morrissey,” he corrected. I rolled my eyes.
“Come with me. Let’s go somewhere else,” he said signaling to the bartender as he paid the tab.
“Where do you want to go? There are plenty of good places around here that might still be open,” I said as we walked out.
“Wherever you would like, Astrid,” he said as he took my hand. “See how easy this feels?”
We walked back in the direction of my apartment and passed many closed doors. Despite my better judgment, we stopped at a crusty hole in the wall that was rumored to be run by “criminals.” Lucky for us, this meant that they would stay open later than laws allow. For old times’ sake, we ordered more whisky. When we talked more about life’s directions, we moved closer. My leg rested against his and he took my hand.
“Your hands are so soft. No one feels like you,” he said as he held my hand.
“We should get going,” I said without thinking.
“Um hum,” he said. He squeezed my hand tight as we headed out the door.
I walked slowly because I didn’t want to go home to Jonathan and because I didn’t want to say goodbye to my dear friend. Adam held my hand tight and looked at me with concern.
“I want to kiss you over there,” he said as we looked up the street. “Is that okay?”
“Yes,” I said. Holy shit.
“Because I’ve always liked you,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. We continued to walk without talking.
We were still under the bright lights of the BQE when he suddenly stopped walking. He pulled me close to him and pressed his forehead against mine. I felt his deep breath in and then out. He leaned in and brushed his lips against mine.
I heard no traffic from the expressway. There was no one in the streets. I brushed my nose against his and kissed his lips and then his tongue. I laced my fingers through his dark hair and drew him in closer.
He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me into a deep kiss as he stepped back against a steel graffiti pillar. I tugged and stretched his faded grey t-shirt. I studied the button of his jeans. His hands moved up my legs and his fingers felt under my skirt. I wanted him there, under the hazy orange lights of the BQE.
“We should go somewhere else,” he whispered in my ear.
“Let’s go to the park,” I managed. I stepped away and grabbed his hand.
We walked what seemed miles to get to the park. By the time we got there the sun was starting to rise.
“The leaves on the trees are so beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen” I said looking up into the oaks.
He pulled me closer and murmured, “No, it’s just the whisky.”
“It’s super amazingly beautiful,” I said as we lay in the grass. I twisted his hair between my fingers.
We must have fallen asleep.