It’s dinner. I have looked forward to this, but, of course, I do not tell you because it would not make a difference. I sit across from you as you tell me how the next few months will be woozy, and I listen to it and then tell my own stories. This is not new, and the good part is that this is as old as any memory I have of it and as new as any I will make today. We have done this before—you, me, a pitcher of sangria, and a pizza smack dab in the middle of the table.
How have we been? Stories ensue here and there of new dreams, new fears. I tell you how I have changed. You tell me how you are in a better place now. I notice the city lights in your eyes as you admit this, not that they need any light to stand out. I laugh when I think of this, and you ask me what it is, and I tell you just something corny I thought of. You feign driving your elbow into my side.
“What!?” I laugh.
“Nothing!” You hide your smile behind a sip—a valiant attempt, but I notice it regardless.
We talk about love, as young people do, regardless of who they are with. I tell you how I could bet that people do not fall in love because someone was who they wanted them to be, but because for a second or two, now and then, we are hit with immense, almost surreal clarity. We are sure of ourselves, and in those few seconds, someone happens to be in front of us, and it makes sense: this is what love would feel like when not causing tides in our hearts, when it is beautiful like a sea is beautiful at five in the morning, when it is secure like how a child clasps onto our finger, when it is eventful like a street is chock-full of predictable activity.
I tell you all this and more as I sip and look away from you. I tell you how I have felt this a couple of times, or maybe once or twice more. You know my life, of course, so you start taking the names of the people I once called lovers. I nod and chuckle. Somewhere between all the music and laughter, I forget to point out you missed one.
The server comes along and asks us if we want a refill. I pause and look at your eager face, telling me we will be here a while.
“Sure, thank you, sir,” I tell him, and the night continues as it always has.