Wednesday, November 7, 2012

on goodnight sweet girl

Our first long distance call that night before I left Albany.  The roommates had moved out a few days earlier, as had most of the town's population of recent graduates, and I was left to pack and clean and wait for my Dad to come with the uHaul to take me to Boston.  Mike had moved back to his parent's house and it was our first time talking on the phone as two people who were no longer living around the block from each other.  The first time talking as two people who were unsure of what would come next, of whether or not we were going to be together by the time the uHaul was unpacked in the new city.

I was nervous.  I think I said as much.  Mike was more confident, not surprising even then.  He told me that he loved me (something I had only heard for the first time just a week before) and that he would visit soon, that we would figure it out.

We talked about the last few days, about my move, about the new place in Boston that I would be sharing with one of my best friends from high school.  The conversation lulled and I knew it was time to get off the phone. 

There's a scene in the movie Beautiful Girls where Andera (Uma Thurman) and Tommy (Matt Dillon) are talking and he asks her about her relationship.  Mike loves that movie, loves that scene, loves the line Uma says at the end of it.  As the conversation ended on the phone that first night apart, he said it to me for the first time. And he's said it every night since for over a decade now, each night before I fall asleep I hear those four little words.  Maybe it's not original, but I no longer think of them as something that comes from that great movie, they're just ours.  "Good night sweet girl."  And I reply with, "Good night handsome."  No matter if we're angry, or tired, or sick, or in the mountains of the High Sierras, the words are said.  And they force us back together. 

Tommy: Can I ask you a question?
Andera: Go ahead.
Tommy: How long have you been going out with your boyfriend?
Andera: Eight months.
Tommy: And it's good?
Andera: It's very good.
Tommy: He makes you happy?
Andera: Yeah. I look for that in a man you know. The ones that make me miserable don't seem to last.
Tommy: Right.
Andera: You know there are fours words I need to hear before I go to sleep. Four little words. "Good night sweet girl." That's all it takes. I'm easy, I know, but a guy who can muster up those four words is a guy I want to stay with.

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