It was a Sunday morning in June and I was sitting in my rented room staring at blank walls decorated in the nothing that I own. On a whim, I shot Kristen a text, “Wanna do brunch?” Yeah, brunch. I wasn’t looking for anything other than her companionship and a meal with a fun person. I figured maybe she had kicked out the flavor of the week by mid morning. She answered back quickly and said she’s a basketball short and tank top girl, so nowhere fancy. I had a Mexican joint in mind that offered a good brunch and we met there. She looked good dressed down and relaxed. Better than I was expecting myself to find her anyway.

It was a great brunch and we even had a Margarita or two. After almost two hours of good conversation about the problems and joys in life, she told me she had an outing planned for the afternoon at a local lake with her best friend Holly and Holly’s dog. She asked if I wanted to go. Because I had nothing else in life at this point, I was in. It sounded like a day filled with something besides my thoughts. That day at the lake turned into a BBQ at Holly’s that evening and it caught me that this girl I didn’t think of, maybe afraid to think of, was really pretty attractive to me and she was good at disarming me. She got a lot more flirty as the evening went on and I finally said I had to go back to my room to get some sleep for work the next day. She offered me a spot at her place. Was this a sexual thing? Shit, it had been years since I had to notice those kind of cues. I wasn’t ready for anything like that, was I? Only one way to find out.

That night I got myself set up to sleep on her couch. It was nice to converse before going to bed. Super relaxing to wind down a day like that and it had been a long time since I had a normal dialogue with an adult after sunset. She told me that if I’m sleeping over, I was sleeping in her bed because couches aren’t for sleeping. Wow, ummm, is this going where I thought it was going? She told me to get my jeans off and get in bed. It must be, right? No, she just hated the idea of anyone sleeping in jeans and I had no other clothes. That was super funny to me. Then she made me cuddle her. That’s it. That’s all and it was perfect. I wasn’t in a rush for much more anyway and I realized she might have been pulling a lot of legs in that work break room talking about her sexual exploits. And my god, it was so nice to hold someone and she just wanted to be held. A win for us both.

I stopping by my room the next so I could get a shower and clothes and we worked a normal day. Not much in the way of chit-chat, nothing about the night before and by the end of our shift, she asked me to come over for dinner. That dinner became another night of cuddling and holding until the next day. We joked about it for many years after that we had just one date, and that one date never ended. She asked me to move in, since I never went back to that empty room and she was so good at breathing life into me, making me feel that warmth that I had thought I wasn’t worth having for so long. Kristen was a savior, my angel. She taught me to love again, both myself and her. And warm I was…

Rory Andes