hoodie.jpgPhoto by Garry Knight
Love and beer on the longest night of the year
When I met you, one floor up from the acute psychosis ward, you were wearing a paper shower cap and green pyjamas just like mine. You glared at me through the crowd because you thought I had your hoodie on. But we just had very similar hoodies.
The thing I replay over and over in my head (they call that an obsession) is the moment when we walked out the door of that place on Main late at night and without looking I knew you had turned your hand behind you to hold mine. You wouldn’t throw out your whole arm, just rotate it slightly at the shoulder to expose your palm. And I took it without looking or moving my arm and we walked like that only for a few steps because your car was right there on the corner. Too soon. I remember the exact feel of your hand. Soft and small.
I don’t remember much of what we said before that because I was pretty drunk. But I remember that we both stopped talking once and stared at each other across the beer because we realized we were the same. I said I never thought I would like someone like me. You said it too. Who said it first? I wish I could remember that conversation.
I was impressed when the British pediatrician was talking about some movie and nobody could agree on a detail—the year or the actors (why can’t I remember anything any more?)—and you looked it up. You glared at me and you looked something up. I watched you in room 10 through the special window once, did you know that? The shower cap really brings out your long eyelashes. When you look down, your eyes look closed. Like you are finally sleeping.
After you disappeared I thought you would come back when you were better again. I wish I’d told you that I understand how much worse loneliness is when you’re lying awake next to someone else. So much worse than being alone.
When you drove me home the morning after the longest night of the year, all the buildings were golden. I felt such relief then. That I had found you in all that madness and that we were leaving. You drove and fiddled with the music with such competence. You knew what a kibbutz was, and you rescued wet dragonflies. I really remember relief.