Dear One Night Stand in Philadelphia Whose Name I have now Long Forgotten,
So… what’s up?
I know it’s been awhile since we last spoke. Twenty years this October to be exact. Not real sure if you remember me or not. That kid from the nightclub tripping his balls off on two hits of acid he bought from some skinhead he met down on South Street. You found me somehow in the crowded dark, shivering and sweating and preternaturally grinning over on the corner of the dance floor. Apparently I was making quite the scene as a one-man mosh pit. Security was ready to bounce me from the club to let me take my chances with cold hard reality. Then you appeared out of nowhere. Interjected upon my behalf to the powers that be. Vouchsafed my presence and swore to reign me in under the aegis of your attention. All smiles and night life diplomacy you bought me safe passage for those next crucial hours that passed.
How you took my arm and whisked me off to a quiet, well quiet-ish, section of the club. Found us an old beaten up couch to sink into. Bought me round after round of orange juice. Proceeded to talking me down from the vertiginous peaks of my trip. You guided me gently through ontological fireworks and navigated me skillfully through an existential mine field. I told you everything. How this was my last night in the Navy. How I got kicked out of the service, stripped of my G.I. Bill and ended up shaming the family name. How I was attempting now to atone by ritualistically sacrificing my ego on a ceremonial pyre of LSD.
Do you remember what you said then?
“Yeah… how’s that working out for you?”
And because you were immaculately woven in black, your moon white face seemed to float disembodied beside mine and I looked over into your bright eyes and without a word you allowed me to kiss you. The longest kiss of my life. For when we pulled back out the lights to the club were on, the crowd had thinned to a few strays taking final sipping off their last call rounds and the frantic hustle of the staff trying to shepherd them out. Laughing, we made our way to your car. We drove til dawn around the city listening to Clock DVA on your car stereo. You pulled over into a deserted parking lot a mile away from the base. I began to shiver again and you pressed a finger to my lips before I could say something stupid and simply said – ‘yes’.
Later, you gave me your name and your number. Both of which, to my enduring shame and regret, I must confess to having lost. In hindsight it was one of the greatest mistakes I had ever made, though time would certainly prove it to not be my last. I won’t bore you with what happened next. The drugs and broken hearts. The hungry adventures and close brushes with happy endings. The drinks and the drudgery and the miracle of the friends you meet in between. The truth is my life was probably just like yours, just like anyone’s really. Maybe not on the surface, maybe not in the details where the devil dwells. But there in the collective depths we all share. In the end I believe that over the years, we both did our best to make the most of the chances we had blown and the hopes we had betrayed for new ones.
Or so I like to think when I’m getting nostalgic at three in the morning.
Anyway, I really hope this letter finds you just as kind, just as beautiful and just as funny as you were when we departed from that final and only night we shared together. But to be honest, I’d be grateful enough if it ever found you at all.
That Kid Tripping His Balls Off at the Night Club
Rob Mosca is the author of High Midnight.