Saturday morning, the 1st of December, I wake to the gentle sound of rain tumbling down the windows and the hiss of what I assume is a radiator (I’m not sure because I’ve seen few). Basia sleeps deeply with her head buried underneath a colored quilt and I’m sure she wouldn’t wake even if I knocked over the display of photos, incense and glass vases on the small table next to me. In college my roommate Nicole and I would have to shake her and take all her covers off just to get her to open one eye.
Yesterday I flew from San Diego to Oakland and took Bart across the San Francisco Bay (trying not to think about how I was in a train in a tunnel under the water in a city prone to huge earthquakes) to the Embarcadero where I posted up at a coffee shop, read a book about French parenting (not because of baby fever, I’m a part time nanny, people), bought tea to earn my keep and took notes in my journal about interesting passersby (a man dressed in a poncho and sombrero?) while I waited for Basia to get home from work. I’m not sure my friends will always live this close, so I try to take any chance I get to hop on a short plane ride to see them.
Once I received the call that Basia was almost home, I packed up my little coffee camp and dragged my bright Hawaiian print suitcase through the dark, busy streets of San Francisco trying to conjure up a plan for how to catch a cab. It was a stormy day and leaves, trash and small acorns were scattered across the damp streets and sidewalks. I was proud of my little suitcase for its durability as it rolled over the debris without a stutter. After trying unsuccessfully to hail a cab from the “No Taxi Zone” that I didn’t realize was one, I relocated to the Hyatt hotel and waited in an organized line until one came for me.
Basia’s building is old and charming. Once through the big heavy door I made my way up a squeaky staircase covered with thick green carpet to her apartment. The windows are the kind you lift open and the faucets are the kind with separate hot and cold valves, making it so there is never a “just right” temperature. Inside, we drank two bottles of wine and stayed up until midnight catching each other up on our current thoughts on adulthood, future thoughts on raising kids and telling a few classic stories from our college days like the time we scaled down some daunting beach cliffs in the pitch dark and lit a bonfire in the sand.
I’m writing all of this down as Basia begins to wake up the next morning. Once she does, we make tea and sit on the couch. We sit for a while in silence; I read my book some and then write in my journal while she reads my book. We are comfortable being quiet with one another and I think there’s something special about that.
We proceed to eat breakfast at a small diner with big plates, find, purchase and decorate a Christmas tree, eat Thai food, eavesdrop on a conversation a crazy overbearing mother is having with her daughter and drink more wine with Nicole once she arrives. In the evening, we take a cab to the Lion Club and drink some more. On the way home, Basia and I opt to run down the huge hills in the pouring rain instead of taking a cab. And then it’s all over and I’m on a plane before I know I’m sad.
When I arrive home the next day, I tell Scott this whole story all over again, except with even more detail (if you can imagine). I say “It was awesome! It felt like old times, but in a new stage of life and I hope we will have many more. I’m bummed it’s over.” And he says, without a pause, “It’s not old times or new times, just times.” It sounds poetic, but what was his point? He continues. “I mean, we should always try to live in the moment because these times, the “now” times will someday be old times and there will always be new times, so we should do our best to stay present and enjoy all times.”
And he’s right, he usually is (I roll my eyes as I type this). It was a great time. I enjoyed it then, feel happy about it now and am confident that there will be more.