The Night That Was

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October 30th 2009
Published: March 17th 2010
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I arose, comfortably. I raised myself on an arm and glanced behind me. She was on her side, facing the wall, her back rising and falling to a calm tempo.

What had happened last night?

It took a second, but the answer was definite. Nothing.

I had passed out the night prior, straining in the full sized bed so our bodies wouldn’t touch. The story of my entire life. Some boasting, some headway, leading to delusion and then exaggeration when I revisiting. Every single girl I pursued, I had done nothing when push came to shove. Just a string of excuses, or timely interventions—no, interferences.

No, this girl was different. I couldn’t let her slip past me, I couldn’t let it fall into oblivion like all the others. We were in love in May…a love so deep we didn't need to even kiss to confirm. She had rescued me this summer. No I couldn’t let this one fly out.

That feeling, that raw emotion from May…it still had to be there.

She started stirring and looked up at me with half closed eyes.

“Mmh, good morning…” she lazily greeted me from below.

I smiled down. “Good morning.” I blinked and continued gazing down. She returned a questioning, sleepy look back, a hint of a smile gracing her features.

I played with a curl of her hair, rolling it between my fingers, the morning sun flirting with the brown specks in her hair. “Time to get up.”

Her eyes slowly closed back. “I’m still so tired.”

I let the hair cascade out of my hand. “Well, how about a kiss to wake you up?”

I swooped down and right before my lips touched hers, her brain caught up with her ears and her body locked immobile and her eyes burst open in panic.

We proceeded through the day like nothing had happened. But the conclusion was once again, definite: I had fucked up.

We were friends. We had loved each other back in May, a pure emotion that needed no words, no actions. And now we enjoyed our company, the memories of May pulling nostalgic strings.

But this morning I had crossed some plane, ruining a calm and peaceful relationship, driving a sexual wedge into something perfect. On the surface all was the same: the same wisp
Passed Out in Montreal (Drinking)Passed Out in Montreal (Drinking)Passed Out in Montreal (Drinking)

I put on an OG stance even when passed out.
of a smile as we quietly sat together, the same simple conversations, the same closeness. But the air between us shimmered with the tension from my kiss. She averted my eyes when I glanced her way. Before she would’ve smiled back. She stiffened when I placed my arm over her shoulder. Before she would’ve scooted closer.

I had fucked up. I shouldn’t have pushed it. I should’ve been happy with the status quo.

The whole day had me metaphorically head in hands, outwardly trying to patch everything up. But my desperate attempts to right my wrong made every move on both sides loaded.

Wait, are you just asking how I am because you like me or because you’re just asking? I mean…

And I was just tapping your shoulder, I wasn’t making a move. I was just…never mind.

My unease intensified as the day dripped into the evening. We had agreed to go for dinner at a French restaurant in celebration of my birthday. If I hadn’t have moved in this morning, I could’ve sat across from her in the first real date we’ve ever had, enjoying her company, a whole realm of possibilities still open.

But now I was squirming in my seat, trying to appear relaxed but my guise easily ripped apart by my 45 degree angle in the seat, the napkin twisting in my sweaty palms and my halting French trying to keep up with the waiter.

It didn’t help matters that this was the most expensive meal I’d ever had (sans weddings or dinners with Teddy’s baller father). In the 18 years I lived under my parents’ house in NYC, “going out” meant the pizza parlor across from my apartment, Chinese or Mickey D’s. If we needed to celebrate some momentous occasion (a graduation, perhaps), we went to a Japanese restaurant where the bill rarely cleared $40 for my family of 5.

Appetizers in my mind meant taking a few sips of my Coke before my Big Mac and fries were dumped on my tray. The only foreign language used were the waiters yelling “Andre, amigo!” to the kitchen staff. The only collared shirts I saw were on white families trying to become cultured by using chopsticks to eat green tea ice cream.

And now I was getting grilled by a waiter wearing a bow tie, vest, French-cuff shirt asking me which $20 appetizer I wanted. In French.

He already had an eyebrow raised at my hoodie, baggy pants and Nikes. The clientele were all wearing sweater vests or suits. And their average age suggested they had grandchildren my age.

“Um…can I…have a water?”

His eyebrow came close to merging with his slicked back hairline. “Excusez, monsieur?”

The starch from the napkin was running down my arm, the whole restaurant staring at the English intrusion to their tranquil setting.

I only know one phrase in French and used it promptly.

“I surrender.”

We drank later that night, and then went to a shisha bar with a few friends, my unease slowly drifting away with the buzz from the smoke and the loopiness of inebriation.

After we were all a little mindfucked, we staggered towards her house, running into the usual suspects at 2am in Montreal. Jersey Shore Guidos piling out of clubs all claiming to score “mad hoes” in large all-male cliques, American Apparel wearing hipsters helping starving kids in Africa by smoking weed and looking for late-night munchies and generally drunk as fuck people marauding through the streets.

One of these drunkards kissed his finger and smeared it on Miss KO’s cheek. I flirted with the idea of knocking him out but he had already vanished down a sidestreet when my mind comprehended what had just happened.

Plus, he was black, wearing gangbanger clothes and had 5 friends in support. This is not to say he was a thug, but because it would’ve been the pinnacle of lame to get my ass kicked by his crew. If this was the US, he could be in a gang. But this was Canada. Him and his friends always roll together on weekends, not because they throw up some fake set, but because in the far-fetched case someone actually pays them some mind, they can curb stomp him comfortable in their numbers.

They’re not packing, slanging or running. They just wait for their checks to come in from the Canadian government so they can buy $100 G-Unit t-shirts, content that if they do happen to “rumble” with another crew, their bruises are covered under Canada’s universal healthcare system.

Plus, I had changed recently. Perhaps one too many heartbreaks had messed something in my head, or finally graduating from college forced me to be responsible for my actions, or maybe I had swiftly entered the “mature” phase of my life. In any case, I was less violent (smashing beer bottles over hipsters notwithstanding) and less prone to instinctive actions. Because by and by, instinctive actions have always gotten me in trouble…need an example? How about this morning?

No, it was not time to go running after some fake hood and get my ass kicked by his friends. Maybe a few months prior and I would’ve picked up a rock and smashed his face in, but now I just smiled at absurdity. Time to let it pass like the Raiders’ secondary.

But a small part of me wished I had knocked his teeth out. I spent the rest of the trip to her mountaintop apartment considering the possibilities. Yeah, I actually could’ve taken all six of them. No doubt.

While I was pounding Canadian thugs in my mind, we had reached her apartment. She quickly darted into the bathroom, cleaned up and then slipped into the bed. I paused, the adrenaline from my imaginary fight fading into worry. It had been awkward all day. Maybe I should sleep on the couch today. She was a good friend, and keeping a friend is on the top of my list. I didn’t want to lose a friend because I had greedily wanted more.

But she had scooted all the way to the left, the empty right side a clear invitation. I exhaled, turned the lights off and eased into bed, careful to keep my body as close to the edge, and as far from her, as possible.

She turned so she was laying on her back. “Fuck…my cheek feels so unclean.”

Her statement slowly dissipated into the dark.

I turned facing her in the bed. How was I supposed to respond? What am I supposed to say? My heart was hammering into the darkness and each second I didn’t respond added to the weight floating above us. What the fuck am I supposed to do?

In the pressure of the situation, my mind became blank and perhaps with the aid of the nicotine still buzzing in my head and the alcohol still flowing through my veins, my mind became blissfully blank. I forgot about the awkwardness pervading the whole day, the character change I had recently foregone and the distance 6 months of separation had put between us.

I just moved on instinct, on raw emotion and lightly kissed her on the cheek.

“That…Um, well…I…my kiss will disinfect your cheek.”

She didn't respond, her body rigidly still.
I locked. Oh shit. Oh shit. What the fuck did I just do?

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had royally fucked up. Just ten minutes ago I had said I had changed and I wasn’t moving instinctively anymore. Fuck. Fuck. How do I make this better? What do I do now?

Oh fuck.

And then I felt it.

A smile, seeping through the darkness, her body yielding to her emotions and the wall between us finally crumbling to reveal our passion from May.

I rose above her, and swooped down, confirming her smile with my lips, her arms encircling my back, and for the first time, everything just made sense.


18th March 2010

just made sense....
bravo buddy... i was thinking of relationships recently (i haven't met anyone cool in my suburbs, so don't even ask), and I'm glad you went for it, broke her down... like a strong confident urban gorilla!
13th April 2010

my body...
doesnt really lead comparisons to a gorilla. Let's say an urban monkey, perhaps?

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