I receive a text from her at 5:51pm. I haven’t heard from her in months. She asks me if I would like to meet for dinner at 7pm. I check in with myself. I know I will be an exhausted shell of myself after six clients but I decide to accept with the caveat that I can’t meet until after 8pm. She agrees.
She texts me at 7:55pm to tell me that the restaurant is closing at 8pm. I tell her that since it’s right near my apartment we could eat the food at my place. She arrives at my apartment at about 8:15pm with food in hand. We sit on the couch and eat at my coffee table. She catches me up on the harrowing events of her life over the past few months. I feel calm centered empathy. I don’t have words for her. I tell her I don’t have words for her but that I’m listening. She says she understands I must be very tired. I am. Still, it’s nice to have her there. I share very little about myself. Not because I wish to be withholding but because…I just don’t feel like it. I use generic platitudes like “dark night of the soul”, “painful but important”–terms that aren’t untrue but that allow me to share without too much effort.
After we eat she lies sideways on the couch and begins to rub my faux-fur blanket. She smiles and asks, “What is this wonderfully luxurious thing?” I smile. I lie my head on her lap and say that I’m tired. She asks me to tell her when she has overstayed her welcome. I tell her that I have to go to bed soon but ask if I may keep my head on her lap for a bit. She begins to give me a gentle scalp massage and asks if it is okay. I nod and close my eyes.
We have a sleepy conversation about sex. Or, more specifically, about why it is that we always circled around it but never…well, did it. We smile and chuckle at the reasons we come up with. She’s funnier than I am but together we’re funnier than she is. She pointed that out to me in the past but it really strikes me how true it is now. The conversation is relaxing because I can feel that neither of us are especially invested in hearing any specific reason–we’re both just…curious.
I lift my head and see a sparkle in her eye. We kiss. I enjoy her soft lips and the calm familiarity of our kisses. I don’t worry about what the kiss means or about “performance”. The kiss feels like a natural extension of the food and our enjoyment of the blanket’s texture: a quiet, sensual and uncomplicated moment.
We finish the kiss and smile at one another. She makes a quiet “mmm” sound. We’re done and I can sense that we share a quiet understanding: we have no expectations; we meet every handful of months; we share a little bit; we touch and kiss; we smile at one another after our kiss; and then we say goodbye.
I walk her to her car and she holds my hand. We kiss goodbye and she says with a smile, “Well, I’ll see you in a few months probably”. I nod and smile. I walk back to my apartment. No fantasies. No longings. Centered. No insomnia for me tonight.