I felt so tired. But it wasn’t just that physical exhaustion, it was the all-body-all-soul-all-spirit kind of tired. I was tired of chasing people who only wanted to run. My days seemed to have turned into blurry, grey happenings. I didn’t care where they began or where they ended, so long as they ended.
My heart was worn out and I just wanted to lie down. I went to Teddy’s party as a “thank you” to a friend; because he’d been so ready to be the one I ran to, stumbled to, or fell into whenever something went wrong.
So I meandered through the hallways until I found the point where the party started thinning out and decided Teddy’s room would be the safest retreat.
And there he was. Silent and still, alone but not lonely. Lying on the hard floor with a pile of laundry that was not his lying on one side of him and spilled alcohol on the other side. He’d put a record on and as a sad, beautiful song reverberated off of the walls, everything felt suddenly perfect. All because we were both there. Alone. Together. In someone else’s bedroom, drinking someone else’s liquor, pretending to give someone else our time for the evening, when all we really wanted is to squander it for ourselves.
I laid down next to him because I couldn’t think of anything to say.
Eventually I kissed him. Eventually the night faded away into the pre-dawn hours and I left with the memory of his voice and languid movement of his lips as he said “good morning”.
Teddy told me to be careful -- because he didn’t know him that well and I didn’t know him that well and I was always too apt to fall for people before understanding who they are.
I told Teddy not to worry, because I understood just fine. I smiled at him and he sighed, trying and failing to return an honest smile.
I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful of Teddy’s opinions or advice. I sincerely appreciated how much he worried about my well-being. He’d hug me tightly or sing loud, sad songs with me, but he’d never let my downward spiraling get out of control. Being friends with him made me believe, maybe a little naively, that no matter how many heartbreaks I suffered through, I’d be alright in the end.
But this time, I felt that I didn’t need Teddy to get through what I was feeling.
I saw him several times over the following weeks while visiting Teddy at work. We held this monumental secret from the world and it was exhilarating. We leaned into one another, he brushed his fingers along my arm, and I left kisses written on little pieces of paper underneath his register. There was never really a reason for keeping anything hidden, but we did it anyway.
The start of winter thrust itself upon the city in blistering winds and an unforgivably bitter chill. I moaned and complained about it constantly, but only because my California-raised body hadn’t toughened up to the Eastern seaboard winters. But I loved it, truthfully. Despite anything I said, I often found moments so crystalline and perfect that I never wanted warm weather to come melt away the snow and ice.
In the cold December night, a month after our night on Teddy’s floor, we stood outside of my building, finding new ways to avoid saying goodnight.
“Why do you like the moon so much?” He asked, noticing I kept sneaking glances at it as we talked.
“Well look at it,” I told him, “it’s stunning. This great, bright, beautiful thing sitting high above us, completely alone, in the darkness. I’ve been having a love affair with it for years now.”
He kissed me before I could finish glorifying the moon. It was different than any kisses we’d kissed before. It wasn’t a “hello” or “goodbye” or “hey, thanks for coming to the other side of town to pick me up” kind of kiss. It felt as though it had a push of fate behind it.
I’d never believed in any sort of thing before, but as I stood here, I tasted it on my lips and felt it in my heart, this tingle of purpose and destiny.
So I ran with it, and I fell in love.