A Lofty Sound

Another Flashback story.  This happened about six months ago:

I love where I live.  Everybody comes to Hawaii because it’s a dream vacation destination.  The landscape is pristine and picturesque.  People who live in Hawaii, come up to a particular scenic point to admire the view– this is where people in paradise, come to view paradise.  And my apartment is smack dab at the top of what could arguably be the best view of the island.  So the drive up to my place is its own natural aphrodisiac of sorts.

My apartment itself is not particularly big.  It’s a single bedroom studio with a full bathroom and kitchen, and a loft storage area that can be reached by a ladder.  My apartment is joined by one wall to a larger central house where my landlord and his family live; a father and two teenage sons.  In addition to being tied into the same electrical and water lines, my apartment shares central AC with the rest of the house.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well any storyteller worth his salt knows it’s important to create a sense of place and setting before telling his story.  It’s rude to just dump an audience in the middle of things.  And a couple of these facts will come into play in just a minute or two depending on how fast you read.

So, anytime I bring a new friend to my apartment, the first thing she wants to do is climb the ladder and look around the loft.   Not sure what it is, but that space up there seems to convert everyone to a simpler time of playing pillow-fort as a kid.    When I first moved in I lugged my 30 gallon aquarium up there, along with most of my diving and shooting gear, so there is a lot of cool stuff to poke around at.  I also tossed a sleeping bag and an extra pillow up in my loft to add to the whole, secret-grown-up-fort element.

Loft

So I have a friend up in my loft, and she’s cooing at my fish, and looking out the skylight, and she sprawls across the sleeping bag and decides this would be a great place for an impromptu game of Backgammon.   Awesome.  That’s what the sleeping bag is there for, that’s the whole point of bringing a friend back to my place.  The problem is, I’ve never played backgammon against this particular opponent.

And.  She. Was.  Loud.

Every time I would advance my pieces she would grunt and moan.  When she made her moves, she was equally as audible. Now I like enthusiasm, and I like encouragement during a rousing game of backgammon, but this was something new entirely.  I had unlocked a wailing banshee who puts the pipes of Axel Rose to shame.  When the game reached its inevitable conclusion, her voice arose in a cacophony of screams and wails, so much so that I think even my fish were scared.   We finished,  laying there panting and laughing on my sleeping bag.

And that’s when I started to hear voices.   Clear as a bell:

“Did you hear that?”  

“Yeah I think they’re done.”

“She must’ve enjoyed it.”

I look above me, and less than a foot above our laying heads is the vent for the central air.  Normally these vents are well above any normal activity going on in a room, but with the height of my loft… it put us right at face level to the vents.  In fact at one point she was mashed up right against the vent, her fingers interlocking into the grate.   I can hear voices, their laughter clear as day, as if they were sitting right across from us.  Obviously if we could hear them… they could hear us.

Drunk Dial

There are these funny stories in my head of happenstance encounters and stupid things I’ve done, that I probably should put down to the page before they get lost in the tumbling shuffle of my mind.  Flashback to about four months ago:

So  it’s two o’clock in the morning, and the bar is closing.  I’m that perfect amount of intoxicated where I still want to go out and hang out, but I’m not entirely, absolutely, one-hundred-percent in control of all my faculties.  There’s this girl that I’ve been seeing for the past few weeks, and every once in a while I give her a call and we hang out.  Sometimes we play backgammon, sometimes we just stare out at the stars and have deep introspective conversations.

Tonight feels like a backgammon kind of night.  So I scroll through my phone and give her a ring.

“Hullo…?” I can hear her hoarse voice through the speaker as she rubs the sleep from her eyes.

“Hey there, beautiful.”  I purr.

“Haha what?  I think you have the wrong number.”   Her voice sounds familiar.  But something is… not quite right.

“What are you wearing?”  I slur.

“None of your business.  You’ve got the wrong number.” the voice on the other line crackles like tinfoil in the microwave.  Yep something is definitely wrong here.  I feel a momentary sense of dread, akin to what a Meerkat must feel moments before it is snapped up by the hungry maw of an apex predator.

“Kira?”  It’s a question shot into the black expanses of space.  A life preserver cast into the ever growing void of my own confusion.

“Yes.”  she answers impatiently.

I know this voice, but something just… isn’t meshing.  And I am either too drunk or too stupid to figure it out.  Like when you’re having an amazing dream where you’re fighting off the bad guys and saving the princess and right when you’re about to kiss her she turns into your Great Aunt Gertrude.

And suddenly it all clicks.

I peel my phone away from my burning cheek and stare down at the screen.  Y’know how they say a cold shower or a hot cup of coffee is a good way to sober up after a night of drinking?  I’ve found a better solution.

This was not the girl I play backgammon with at two o’clock in the morning.    No no no, this was my old Bosses wife; a kindly middle-aged woman who I worked with at my old restaurant job. The woman who was always making sure I ate enough vegetables with  my employee meal.  The woman who constantly gave  me relationship advice on how to find a “nice girl” instead of a “crazy one”.  The woman whose kids I helped with their homework during downtime,  and helped unsnarl their bike chains so they could ride around in endless looping circles in the parking lot behind the building.  She was part Mother figure, part mentor, part all around nice lady.  And I…

(in all my infinite wisdom and clarity)

… just drunk dialed her at 2am.

She and the other “Kira” both had the same first name, and their last names were almost identical save for two letters.  Easy to notice sober, especially easy to miss drunk.

*Click*  I hang up as fast as I can.  Maybe she’ll think this was all a dream. Any alcohol left in my system has been quickly purged and replaced by the swift flow of embarrassment coursing through my veins, side effects including a painful awareness of each agonizing second and syllable I spent on the phone making an ass of myself.   Even if she doesn’t remember it, my name and number will still show up in her caller ID log.  Gah.

– – – –

It’s eleven o’clock in the morning the next day when my phone rings.  Mother-Hen-Kira is calling.

“Hey Kira, I’m so sorry…”  I stammer, even though she is miles away my hands shield my face in shame.

“It was very nice hearing from you last night.”  She begins.  “How have you been?”

She asks me about work. She asks me if I’ve been eating my vegetables.  She tells me about how before there were cell phones, boys would actually have to call a girl at her house, so when a boy drunk-dialed, usually it was a pissed off father answering the phone instead.  And suddenly, all my face-palming-shame is washed away.

“Next time, maybe don’t call so late.  Be a good boy.”  The conversation ends.

I am an idiot.  But at least I’m an idiot with good people in my life.

Bump it with:

There’s a funny story behind that… let me explain

There has come a point in a few promising potential relationships, where it just fizzles.  The lines of communication twist and tangle in the unspoken wind; either I’ve run out of interesting things to say, or I’ve ceased to be interesting.  But my imaginary friends keep telling me I am, interesting I mean.  But somehow, the conversation languishes, lacking meaningful context and she just disappears.

The one reoccurring thought I have:  She knows.

There’s no one incriminating tragic event, of inadvertently murdering a hitchhiker with a group of friends, because that’s so last summer.  No instead it’s a collection of “shouldn’t have done that… shouldn’t have done that. ” Hagrid Moments, that could possibly come back to haunt me.

702pl

It’s six-degrees-of-separation; it’s six friends between Her and that stupid thing I did– or her stupid friend that I did it with.  And even though it didn’t mean anything… it’s permanent.  Because  dating on an island is like painting with watercolors in the rain– everything bleeds over into everything.  And thirty seconds of “There’s a funny story behind that, let me explain…”  could be the difference between dead ansibles and ignored texts of indifference and happily ever laughter.

And that’s what I’m after.

So there’s probably a funny story behind that, let me explain…
Bump it with:

(That dance intermission doe…)