Saturday Night

8pm.

Dinner down Chicago Avenue over, I step off the bus last. In front of me, six others meander towards the corner, still crunching the remains of the treats we bought at the panederia. Authentic Mexican dinner, we passed nachos around the table, sipped icy cold horchata, and now we’re back at school, pushing through the double doors of the Arch.

We’re halfway through, almost to the Plaza, when someone remembers that the Lip Sync show is tonight. We’re up the stairs, down the hall to the auditorium, in thirty seconds flat.

We part ways inside the dimmed auditorium, slipping into seats on opposite sides of the aisle just as the audience before us breaks into riotous applause.

9pm.

I get to my room first. Later, Halli will join me, climbing onto the Tall Bed, which in my roommate-less months I’ve taken to calling the Extra Bed. Later, she’ll arrange the thick pillows against the cold concrete wall, settle in to read. But now she’s downstairs, no doubt chattering, grinning, through a short haircut.

I’ve carried Hal’s bookbag up for her, the unbelievably heavy bag slung across my back, straps working to bury themselves in my shoulders. Sighing, I let the bag fall gently to the ground in front of the Extra Bed. Propping my door open, I pull my own books off of my desk, settle in to read.

10pm.

It’s quiet in the room, but outside, the city roars with Saturday night life. The temperature hit 75 earlier, and I’ve pulled the window up, open, more than it’s been opened this year. The cooling night air blows gently through the inches of exposed screen, bringing with it the incessant ringing of sirens, cars honking, and voices loud, soft, clear, muffled, happy, angry.

On the Tall Bed, Hal’s books still sit where she stacked them meticulously just minutes ago. After an hour of peaceful, tandem quiet- her engrossed in her reading, me in mine- she’s slipped my sandals on, stepped out the door on a late-night homework-break adventure.

On my bed, I read, answer texts, occasionally peruse email, Instagram, Facebook.

It’s quiet on the floor, on the other side of my propped door, the contrast of Chicago noise and Moody peace unusually striking.

11pm.

Di appears in the doorway quietly, steps into the room without me noticing. Her movement catches my eye and I look up from my book to see her setting her purse on the Tall Bed. She slips her shoes off, sets them next to my own, under the sink, with a practiced, familiar kick of her feet.

We chat, catch up, and then it occurs to me. Are you sleeping here? I ask as she stands before the Tall Bed, then used her upper body to pull herself onto the soft mattress. Legs swinging over the edge of the bed, she glances at Hal’s bookbag, computer, the mile-high pile of library books she’s placed on and around my desk.

Is Halli sleeping over? She asks, and I shake my head. No, just homeworking.

Ah. She agrees, nodding tiredly. I did not know she was coming, but she staying the night now, and I’m happy, content to have her nearby.

12am.

Hal’s come and collected her books, fighting to fit all the books into her bookbag. Exchanging goodnights, she waved one last time, then stepped into the silent, darkened hallway.

Night, Hal! Di and I both mumbled.

Di is tucked into the Tall Bed. As per tradition, we’ve put on a Disney movie, and her eyes lull as the bright characters of Atlantis prance across my computer screen where it rests sideways on my desk.

Sitting cross-legged at the foot of my own bed, I alternately read the textbook draped across my lap, and watch the fallen city of Atlantis be discovered by a motley crew of ten animated figures.

Di falls asleep.

And it’s 12:35am on Saturday night, and outside the window, the city glows yellow-orange still, and the noise of the night shows no signs of quieting. Inside the room, the Disney movie dialogue chatters brightly while Di breathes deep, even. And I read and I watch and I listen, and I relish the Saturday night.

~Natalia

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