Midnight, she said she’d be back from work, back on the floor. 10pm, I’m back. I sit in Nelle’s room; she’s gone. I write, there: the post you read yesterday, the day before. I don’t like thinking about my church dilemma, I don’t like writing about it, but I do anyway. I write thoughts I’d like to avoid, and I tell you about the weekly struggle that I’d rather not have, and when I’m done, I close the tab, lie back on that scratchy blue couch.
It’s 11pm- maybe later- but not the promised midnight, and maybe I’ll not stop by, not catch up, anyway. I lie there, feet tucked askew under the blue guitar someone left out. My computer is propped on my chest, I’m scrolling aimlessly; reading blogs, mostly.
But the post I wrote just moments ago- the prospect of another Sunday- weighs heavy on me, the headache of frustrated tears not shed builds behind my eyes. I’m tired, too.
The door swings in, Nelle and a friend trip past the miniature pink throw rug, burst into the room. I remain where I am, sprawled on the couch. I flip my computer closed, slide it under the black Ikea coffee table, on top of a pile of white computer cord. I don’t know this friend and introductions are tossed back and forth as she sinks on the other end of the couch, moves the blue guitar across the room.
I stay in the room awhile longer. It’s getting late- almost midnight- and the two girls are preparing for the night; it’s been a long day and I catch snippets as they rotate around the room. Nelle pins her hair back, washes her face, tells me about the bus driver who took a wrong turn, just for them. Our new friend brushes her own hair, rustles through her suitcase, pulls pajamas out, tells me about the hispanic man whose question they couldn’t understand.
I lie there, tired, and watch night settle into the city, settle into the room.
Soon, almost suddenly, I stand up. Leaving my computer cord, I take my computer; water cup, homework pages, highlighter balanced on top. Two doors down, I pass my room. It’s past midnight, she’s back from work now, and I decide I do want to visit. I leave my computer on the floor outside my door and the faint hallway light reflects dull off its scuffed cover.
She’s on her bed, somewhere under a pile of black pillows and purple blanket, when I push through the door, two past my own. She looks up when I come in, probably expecting me to be her roommate. But I’m not and she smiles, nods a welcome. I sink onto the bed on the other side of the room. I ask about her day, maybe, or maybe I say something else- I don’t remember. But I remember the day I first met this friend- we were sitting in the lounge, she wore a printed tanktop- and these two years have grown communication strong. So she’s up there on her bed, tall because of the bed risers, and I’m over here on her roommate’s bed, and we talk.
We talk about church and friends and God and knowledge and boys and food and summer plans. She reads a quote from Augustine- she loves theology, loves study and I love her for that- and we laugh, too. Later, her roommate comes in, sits on the bed next to me. It’s late, we realize: almost 1am, but we just keep talking, only stopping now and again to remind each other of the time, exclaim that it’s late, and roll into conversation once again.
1:30am I stand up. I click the little lamp off, the one by the window, wish the pair goodnight, and then step towards the door. I’m halfway there, moving slowly, when she calls me back. It’s a joke, but this exchanging of stories and thoughts is too inviting, and I don’t want to leave yet. I sit back down on the bed.
Sometime around 2- even then a little after- I get up again, tell them goodnight again, leave. Collect my computer, water, papers from the hallway, push quietly through my own door. I slide my computer onto my desk, toss the papers alongside, and collapse onto my own bed. I’m tired, of course, but the weight of worry, of frustration, of isolation, has lifted in those talking hours. No one’s alone in this, really. We’re all together walking, talking, living, breathing through life, one day, one night, one conversation at a time.