On our quiet weekends, we spend too much time in our local video rental store, painstakingly locating a movie that fits our mood. Usually, we choose a comedy and head up to the counter, ready to spend the rest of our evening curled up in bed bathed in the blue glow of the television. We get home, drop our coats in the living room, make drinks and retreat to the bedroom. We shed our daytime clothes and wiggle into pajamas before nestling into bed. He lies on his side and pulls my legs over his bent knees and hits play. He kisses my shoulder as the movie starts, and we both fight off fatigue in an effort to stay awake through the whole movie.
We sit up and sip from large, condensation-encased glasses. My drink always tastes more like cranberry than the vodka in it – A dangerous misrepresentation of the alcoholic content. But his always smells like green-labeled Jack Daniels, no matter how much or how little of the caramel colored liquor I poured into the glass before I followed it with ginger ale.
Late at night, just before we sleep, his kisses taste like Jack Daniels and Canada Dry. I love when his soft lips, his tongue, taste subtly of cold sweetness and sharp alcohol. And, in the morning, when I carry our used glasses from his bedroom down into the kitchen, the scent of his Jack & Ginger floats up into my face; I love the smell of it, the masculinity mixed with the sugar, the syrupy liquor mixed with the light carbonation. I inhale as I pour the remnants of last nights’ drink down the drain, soaking in the familiarity. It makes me think of the evenings we spend on each other, twisted together and stealing kisses between the movie’s scenes; his kind eyes finding me in the semi-darkness of his room and the smile I can see in them.
This week, we’re living in my house instead of his. He packed last night, tossing dress shirts, wool pants and ties into his suitcase. I surveyed the room for anything I’d been keeping there that I’d need at home. I found my hairdryer, my hairspray, my earrings and tucked them into the bag that accompanies me from my house to his every night. On my way out the door, I grabbed his big bottle of Jack and secured it into my passenger seat. I stopped at Turkey Hill and picked up a liter of Canada Dry. And when he got to my home, we had our nightly drinks.
This morning, his used glass was the first thing I saw when my alarm roused us from sleep. I begrudgingly freed myself from our morning embrace and carried it downstairs on my way to make the coffee. Emptying it into my sink made me smile.
I thought he wouldn’t come with me when I said I’d be staying at my house this week. My roommate would be gone for the week, leaving me with the dog that I would be required to watch. I broke the news to Billy late yesterday and was surprised when he said “Well, I guess I’ll have to pack then.”
I was still sort of expecting him to back out, but there he was, last night, coming through my garage with his bags in hand.
I let the dog out and we smoked on the back porch. “Thanks for coming,” I said. My history was to blame for my certainty that he wouldn’t be there: It was always me expected to make the trip to the boyfriend, very rarely the other way around.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t?” His face told me that he though I was crazy to think anything different.
“Well…sort of.” I looked at the carpet beneath my feet on the sun porch rather than at him. It was embarrassing to still hold him to the low standard set before him, rather than the high standards he was forging.
“So you thought you’d just come back here every night? Sleep here alone while I slept alone at my house?”
“I don’t know.” Like a kid, I kicked at nothing on the floor, a little ashamed of my lack of faith in him.
He smiled at me. “Baby, whose shoulder would I sleep on?”
And it struck me that this is what it feels like to be loved. To be cared for. To have someone who wants to spend his time with me, to have someone who supports me in my tough decisions, who makes me laugh when I’m sad, who makes me feel like everything will be okay. And this is what it’s like to love. To want to care for someone else, to want to spend my time with him. To want to make things better when they’re not going well for him, to want to hear his laugh, to want to touch his face and to let him know everything will be okay, no matter what.
I just feel so lucky.