Here, you said, let me give you the tour.
We hadn’t seen each other in a while; now we were a little drunk. You were leading me through the many rooms of your new loft, through your kitchen area, living room, bedroom, washroom, office slash library, your neatly ordered desk and ergonomic chair, handmade bowls and lamps.
I like it. It’s new, I said.
Too new? you asked, and your face suddenly looked worried.
No, no, I said. But it was. It was lonely. It spoke of your daily routine, a series of good decisions punctuated by occasionally bad decisions of massive proportion. I couldn’t stop thinking of how much it must have cost to move into a place like this. I noticed you looking at me and smiled.
I just… you began.
You laughed to yourself and shook your head.
Ah, you said. I’m being such a bad host. Would you like something to drink? Water, more wine?
You led me out onto to your roof deck, which overlooked the waterfront and a series of luxury lofts, even more luxurious than yours. They loomed dark and massive, like stacks of giant blue coins. What wind there was up there, what views! But inside I felt jealous, even slightly resentful. Here I was, having a rough time of it, and you had seen the road to take and taken it, smoothly accelerating on ahead. And now we were here, on your roof deck.
It’s beautiful, I said. Also a little horrifying.
You rubbed your hands across your bare arms and shoulders.
It’s a little pricey, you said, but everything is new and there’s such great light in the morning. We have a laundromat in the building. You can even rent a car in the parking garage.
Jesus, I said, imagining myself inside one of these cars, my arm hanging out the window. The modern age.
The future, you said. This is it.
For a moment it seemed anything could have happened between us—sit on the ledge, entangle legs. You started telling a story about a friend of yours, a new doctor friend with whom you had recently attended a play. It was a longer story than I had expected. When you finished telling the story, we drank from our glasses.
So, I said as we went back down, work must be going all right then, huh?
It is, you replied.
We sat on different couches and you talked about the benefits of working at the place where you were and what you were doing there now, which was much more than you had been doing there previously, a few months before, the last time we had really seen each other.
That’s good, I said.
Yeah, you said. It’s good.
You continued talking about work, what you hoped to be doing in the future, over the next few months, the next year or so, the next five. As you talked, your voice seemed older and more serious-sounding.
You got up to get a glass of water, and I followed you into the kitchen.
You said, I’m not unhappy.