Atomic Pop wrote about an old band reuniting. I only know one song of theirs and his post brought back a tucked away memory.
Years ago, one of my college friends and I were going through a box of things her cousin had forgotten in their college apartment. Among the veritable items was a mixed tape. We didn’t give the cassette a second thought until one night when we were tired of memorizing some biochemistry. Retrieving the cassette from the box, we had to go down to her car to play it. Her stereo-system only had a CD player.
The song on it was from Yaz. We were charmed by the carnival sound of the electric piano and played the song a few times while driving around campus. Looking up this song on youtube brought back the memory in vivid color. I could even smell her perfume. This is probably the closest I will ever get to falling in love with a girl. If I were straight, I knew that this definitely was a chick I would be dating. The only problem for me, my pipes don’t unclog because of her.
All my roommates assumed that we were dating. They figured no two people of the opposite sex could spend this much time together and not be “doing it”. I didn’t correct them and I didn’t deny it either. It helped me to live the facade that I was living–helped me to safely remain in the closet. I even liked the times that she would fall asleep in my room from studying and even though we slept side-by-side, that’s all we did.
The day finally came when she met someone. I remember how excited she was telling me all about him. It felt like we were breaking up. All I could think about was how I was going to explain to my friends that the woman I was supposedly dating had some other guy’s tongue in her mouth. I was really happy for her, but in a selfish way wanted to keep her for myself.
As I drove home that night, I kept thinking this is it, I’m going to be alone. I remember pulling into my apartment driveway and as the Yaz song blared from my car stereo, the first tear fell. And you know after that first tear falls, there are only more to follow. What made the situation worse was my roommate standing on our balcony. He saw my car and gestured for me to hurry up. He wanted me to come up and have a cigarette with him.
I made my way up our balcony and he must have sensed something was wrong because he put out his cigarette and walked over to me. He put his arm on my shoulder and asked. I started to sob and he said “you broke up didn’t you”? And as the tears started to fall he locked me in a bear hug.
What he didn’t know was the reason I was crying. I was crying because I felt like I was going to be alone and that being inside the closet was cold, despite all the winter jackets and sweaters stored in there.
He said one of the kindest things I have ever heard a friend say. When I pushed away (pretending to not need the hug) he said, “Nope, I gave the hug first and it’s up to me when the hug ends”. I realized that you don’t need sweaters, jackets, scarves or gloves to stay warm. You just need the love of a good friend. I knew I would be telling this friend one day all about me…