Friday, January 18, 2013

in the happy, nasty trenches (pt. 1)

Right before the holidays, I had the good fortune of being invited to take a trip up north to visit my BFF, Emily. She moved from Texas last summer in pursuit of a great career opportunity she’d been offered. While traveling to the Midwest in the middle of winter didn’t sound that appealing to me at first, the fact is, I was missing my boo; never mind that I’d not enrolled in school last semester and had no pressing reason to stay put. Plus, with my friend newly in the process of getting a divorce, it seemed like the perfect timing for a reunion, both of us sure to benefit from seeing a friendly face. So about a week before Christmas, I took her up on her offer and flew north, right in to the middle of the arctic wonderland she now (even she would say) strangely calls home. 

Emily lives in a very posh apartment complex that rests right beside the Mississippi River. The living room in her upper story unit has huge windows that I enjoyed looking out of every day. There was a great view of both the snowy white courtyard below as well as the river, right in walking distance.  On the first floor there’s a cyber cafĂ© with a coffee and tea bar. The entire time I was there, as I came and went throughout the building, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d checked in to some lovely, expensive hotel.

With Emily at work during the days, I was left to my own devices - devices which, admittedly, tend to lean toward the uneventful. I read some from her library, wrote Christmas cards, ate potato chips. Every now and then I would try to befriend the bunnies that Emily shares her apartment with, but for the most part our relationships amounted to the quiet, curious eying of one another. Several times a day, I would go back and forth from the courtyard to the apartment to smoke cigarettes. I would stand outside, often inappropriately dressed for the climate and smoke while trying to inconspicuously catch glances at whatever dude (if I was lucky) happened to be working out in the workout room. 

While I certainly don’t mind time alone, I have to say that things were a lot more fun when Emily was around. The roads were icy much of the time, so we didn’t do much outside the apartment, though I did get to visit her office and see where she works. We also met sweet friends a couple of times to share meals and conversation. Mostly, though, it was just she and I - and it was nice. She introduced me to Woody Allen while I was there. And if we weren’t watching movies, we were usually just chillin’ in the living room with some ambient candlelight, listening to an eclectic soundtrack - everything from Rock*A*Teens to Peggy Lee, from Astrud Gilberto to A$AP Rocky - while we talked and laughed and drank screwdrivers and vodka sodas. We’d bundle up, take our drinks down to the river and smoke. It was a blast!

But as much fun as I had and as much as I loved being there...


  1. Jeff! How could you leave me hanging like that!?! :) It sounds like it was a lovely vacation with Emily.