If you intertwine your fingers with one another you can form a useful instrument: a cup. Cupping your hands around your mouth may try to seal in a cough. It’s a jail cell, a limited sentence until release. Sometimes, you can cup you hands to slurp a drink of water, or to catch the falling rain. It’s similar to praying but much more spiritual.
When I was little, I’d lie on my naked spine in the backfields of my Mother and Stepfather’s summer country house. I’d look to the sky, cupping my hands around the stars that flowed from the boundless blackness that gasped for some sort of normalcy in the universe. I’d pocket the stars and take them back to my room for safekeeping. I had so few treasures back than that were sailable.
I’ve never been one to treasure such things that you could actually physically hold. I treasured kindred spirits, warm hugs, and boisterous laughter; they seemed to be worth something a little more.
We had met each other a few times, she and I. It was always in passing, never one-on-one. It wasn’t until Teddy’s birthday party that things began to change.
Our mutual friend, Teddy, was having his 22nd birthday blowout. It was no surprise to me that I’d see her there. Teddy and she had been best friends for the longest time, and he was deemed at her “Gay Husband”. She had more street cred than I. All I was to Teddy was a coworker who shared the occasional smoke break.
The party dragged as most parties do. They start off quiet, everyone trying to feel others out and maintain composure. Than someone opens a bottle of wine, a couple of beers, and suddenly everyone is bosom buddies and can’t keep their hands off each other.
I’m not sure, but somewhere after my fourth beer I ended up alone in Teddy’s room. It was covered in mementos, objects of memories past. A wristwatch from an ex-boyfriend, a toy from his grandmother, old sneakers from a track team that won regionals; worldly treasures is what they were.
I sat down my beer, or rather dropped it, I imagine, on his floor. I laid down next to an old record player he had talked about. According to Teddy, the record player was the first gift his father gave to him after he came out of the closet. It was the last gift his father gave to him after coming out of the closet, also. It held extreme importance to him. Something he could never relay to me during a ten minute smoke break.
I christened my voyage on the old Crosley with a Simon and Garfunkel standard: Bookends. My mind wrapped around the flurry of sounds transporting out of the vinyl and into my atmosphere. I could feel the cool of the hard wood floor, the muskiness of dirty laundry that collected under his bed, and my moistened beer stained flannel. My eyes searched for something in the sky, but the ceiling was blocking me from view. I cupped my hands around my eyes, as if to capture the reflecting light bouncing off the window pains.
Than she walked in and laid down on the floor next to me.
She had managed to salvage her glass of wine and still look like a million bucks. Her eyes examined a place to stay and my arms offered her my chest. We rested there for some time, just the two of us.
After the record scratched and reverbed us back to life, she leaned over and kissed my cheek. I looked into her eyes, something I always do with people I’m not entirely comfortable with. They looked soft and cool, yet warm and inviting. They weren’t one color, but rather a speckle of everything. The sincere gold leapt upon the frosty blue, while the lusty green made it’s way along the cusp.
I cupped my hands around her eyes, blocking out the light streaming in from the doorway. Under giggled breaths and unheard wishes, we spent the rest of the party lost in the sounds of folk and multicolored gems.
I’d found a treasure I could keep.