We clink our Irish coffee mugs together at a high-top table for two on the second floor of Slainte and smile.
“Cheers,” she says.
“To hard-ons and heartbreak,” I reply. We laugh and take a biting sip of coffee.
Earlier that morning, I found myself outside in the glaring summer’s sun without shades, wearing last night’s clothes, old and dirty, and smelling like sex. My sandals on the sidewalk make a particularly tense clopping sound as I walked the block to my car, the wrong way first. My face lit up as Pablo, my old reliable red Honda Civic, comes into view. He starts right up, as always, and I proceeded home.
Last time I stayed the night there was in a particularly manic drunken state,where my intentions were not so clear and bold. Nowhere as clear and bold as last night.
I laid on my stomach, awoken by the morning sunlight, stark naked, with my head turned towards him. For maybe half an hour, I drifted in and out of a sleep state, depending on what he was doing. A few times he touched me in a way that revealed his intentions, but I wasn’t feeling like doing much but dozing off, hiding from the hangover that was starting to creep on. There’s a comforting feeling in knowing that someone is watching you sleep, really genuinely caring, that redeemed his desires.
It was only right that we had a night together before I leave, before I’ve disappeared completely. It didn’t even need to be spoken. I knew he knew. Part of him may hope that it’ll happen again but I can tell you he’s brighter than that. It’s hookup culture, baby. I live intimately only in hours of drunken stupor. It’s the only way I know how to open up again and again.
Now I sit, listening to my best friend talk, listening to her worry about everything about other people that she can’t control. She cares a hell of a lot, I’ll give her that. I explain things about the people that are causing her worries, that most people need different things from romantic relationships than us. She understands then and calms down, accepting that different people have different needs. We chat more waiting on our brunch, speaking now on friendship, as we often do, and comparing other peoples’ bond to our own.
“That’s it,” I realize, “I know I can always call you to just be around me.” I pause briefly, “But I also know that when I don’t want to be, you’re still ok.”
She nods in agreement, smiling and saying, “You’re my best relationship.”