I forgot how nice it is to know someone for so long that you can’t really remember a time you didn’t know them. My ninth birthday party, on video, me with hair so long it reached my butt, perpetually uncombed and snarled and hers matching in every respect except for how much darker it was. Constantly searching for the portal to Narnia on her parents’ expansive acreage, choking on oversized Valentine’s Day candy, always being just a little too terrified to feed carrots to the horses in her grandparents’ stables. Losing touch for no reason but reconnecting unexpectedly, my third college and the one I would stick to, albeit begrudgingly. A ten year mystery solved and her calling me on the phone to tell me everything. Her first trip to California and the three of us—her husband, her, me—drove through Mulholland and walked aimlessly around Runyon Canyon and ended up at the Getty, peering through the telescope to see Jupiter, the last ones let in for the night. Disneyland and Point Dume and a beach filled with dead sea lions, babies and adults, some half-decomposed and some that could have been sleeping. A trio of dolphins and a grey whale that followed us half a mile along the shore, coming up every few minutes to breathe.
When they left Tuesday night I was exhausted and suddenly alone. I spent hours on S’s couch playing Mario Brothers and drinking our new favorite wine, bought by the case and stacked neatly next to the TV. I was ready for bed by 9 and I slept late the next day, waking up to skin sun burned and tingling, hair messy and full of salt. I worked yesterday from my bed, cross-legged and chugging water, finally feeling more settled with the work I’m doing. Finally feeling more settled with a lot of things, probably.
Yesterday S hid a cheese plate in an empty cardboard box and we drank martinis and he put a record on and we tried to stay awake to watch Letterman’s final show but couldn’t. I woke up to a city cold and grey—Los Angeles’s two months of resolute gloom—and a welcome email from my agent. Clean sheets and laundry hanging to dry and my apartment still just a little too small and a little too messy. But mine, anyway, and empty, and quiet, and nice.