Last night I slept restlessly, in that floating space between deep sleep and wide awake. This happens often when I have to be up early to be at work at seven thirty in the a.m. My mind won’t let me sleep soundly for fear of oversleeping the next morning. Then the whole day today I felt that extreme tired where your eyeballs hurt as if they have been raked over and your nerves are paper thin and the hours can’t pass by fast enough while the work piles up. We’ve all been there.
After a day like this I would normally come home and crash into bed again, but today I fought it with all I had. I didn’t want bed, I wanted something else. Anything else, anything that would stave off the tiredness and stretch the day out longer.
It helped that I had three cups of coffee in my belly by then and the day was sunny and brisk. I put out a call to arms on facebook for company to go have drinks on a terrace somewhere. No one took my bait. Either no one I know in Amsterdam is the least bit spontaneous, or I waited too late to invite the world to have a drink with me.
In the end I found unexpected company and headed out to a bar that I haven’t frequented since those late nights in about the summer of 2006, when I had nowhere to be in the mornings and no fear of hangovers just yet. I miss this bar- the music is good, the ambiance perfect. It was good to be back.
The company I was with was also nostalgic of those very same times, back when things were a little less confusing and everything sparkled a bit brighter. Back when I didn’t know what unexpected turns were coming my way. The conversation flowed easily over a few drinks, and then over dinner and cocktails nearby, and then back to the same haunt because I had forgotten my phone on my seat and we thought we might as well have one for the road while we were there and the night was still young.
We laughed over stupid stories, talked openly about our days, and shared a comfort that is hard to find elsewhere. I even found myself writing down music recommendations on the back of a coaster, just like that night years ago when the thought of Amsterdam was so far away and the night was never not young and the rounds so endlessly flowing. I still have that first coaster saved somewhere, although on the walk home tonight I lost this one.
I remarked that I still had the urge to have a cigarette, and so on the way out he handed me one, and I walked him to his bike. The cigarette felt strange in my hand, funny that something so small and light could feel so foreign and heavy. It wasn’t until we parted ways smiling that I really allowed myself to focus on the cigarette, and I took a deeper drag.
It was a little shocking to me that the first thing that it reminded me of was being 8 years old in the third grade, when myself and two friends of mine would smoke half-gone cigarettes that we would pick off of the ground or from our parents’ ashtrays. We called them ‘doegywows’. I won’t explain how to pronouce that, nor do I remember where the name came from, but it was our code word for cigarettes, and for about a month we fancied ourselves smokers until the trivialities of being 8 years old distracted us and we “quit”.
Halfway home I found myself laughing at the memories, and how a mundane Monday had turned into something much more interesting and unexpected. I also found myself feeling ultra silly over this farce of me smoking. I decided to stub it out, but when I did I realized that I had smoked the whole thing anyway.
And I was no longer the slightest bit tired.