The other thing (as I mentioned briefly) that has been on the boy‘s mind all evening while we’re at Camelfest has been his car. We’re in a parking deck three blocks away, but there’s a certain uncertainty to it. The upper decks are reserved, do-not-access. The far walls are also marked Reserved. This leaves about 20 spaces ostensibly free for daily or hourly use. But they’re all marked with complicated numbering, like A2B23 which seems like overkill for 20 spaces, really, and has no bearing on the payment system. This leaves him with an uneasy feeling, like the space might be reserved after all and he’ll get towed. In the end we park and hope for the best (with a quick parking-related prayer on my part) and step out into what is now a light drizzle.
Just to let you know, I had tried to let my hair curl for the day – testing out the new ‘do – and it flopped miserably. So I had straightened instead to try to salvage things. Translation: Wet was the last thing I needed. Oh well, it’s not about me.
Anyway, in the background of overly loud music and perhaps a bit of confusion about this being a genre of music I might in fact enjoy (perhaps “appreciate” is more believable?), he is working on a low-grade concern about his car.
Still, when we slip out for the night, our positions reverse. Now I am all business, ready to get straight to the car, while he has decided that what’s done is done. Too late to worry now. We walk the block beyond the lot toward the water. It’s still drizzling and the air is surprisingly cool and pleasant considering it’s August. New York twinkles at us from across the river, which is my favorite way to see NYC. I keep wishing I had my camera.
We do finally head back to the parking, and his car is exactly where he left it, of course. Once we’ve negotiated the payout and exit process we head to his place. We leave the radio off… Every sound is a fresh wound to injured ears.
He’s lived in 3 apartments since I’ve known him. The first was a slummy little hole in the wall, with the building’s hot water and heating pipes running through his living room (toasty!) and the kitchen ceiling peeling off in strips. Fine enough for a first place for a single guy just getting started in a new country but not a place to make home. The second place was still one bedroom, but bigger and in a nicer neighborhood. He still kept it pretty spartan, until his parents arrived and I helped him decorate for their arrival. I’ve never been here, in his latest place; because of the years we were apart, and in the alternate years, because of the convenience of my location versus his. His parents have lived with him until he recently sent them off to his new place in Miami, so I knew he had two bedrooms in this latest place. But I didn’t expect three. I knew about the ginormous TV, but not the leather sofa and loveseat. “When did he become a grown-up?” I wonder.
Still, it’s the small hours of the morning, and our eardrums are bruised. Less talk, more bed. A set of clean sheets later, I am trying to sleep in the strangeness of a different place. The sounds are unfamiliar, and I’m restless.
Now, in these quiet morning hours while he sleeps on in the next room, I get a better look at things. Much that is new and unfamiliar. He has made a life for himself that I don’t know. As it must be. But then again, this piece of furniture I remember. Those pictures, we picked them out together when his parents were coming. I know this, I remember that.
I knew him when.
The morning is lengthening. I hear him starting to move around. Things to do this Sunday… Time to get started.
- I heart Camelfest 2011 (akagringita.wordpress.com)