Don't Wake up: I Remember Your Leather Jacket

Photo by fotografierende

Published: January 21, 2021

I remember when I first met you. A friend of a friend came up to our high top by the pool table. She wore a questionably dumb look on her face filled with optimism and future promise. I knew this look and I knew she’d eventually tell us she was on a date with a gentleman, one who completely took over her thoughts.

At that moment looking at this bright-eyed girl, I asked myself two things. First, what type of fool would bring their date to a bar adorned with a notoriously sticky checkered floor? My second question is what type of person would be excited over the whole tomfoolery? Taking a gulp from the pitcher, that I’m not sure who belonged to but not one seemed to care that I was drinking from, I watched her finger as she pointed near the entrance.

My eyes followed the line she drew from her fingertip leading to your leather jacket.

Amused,  I smiled and snickered while I stared at you over the rim of my plastic cup. I’d seen you before. And always in that jacket. Always at the parties and always at the bars. Always quiet but somehow loud. And always the limelight of a novel woman’s world.

I swallowed my flat, free beer, and thought again how truly naïve this girl in front of me was.

Little did I know, you’d move in next door to me one day. We’d share a wall and I’d eventually fall for you. I’d listen to my thoughts that were now plagued of you, while I simultaneously eavesdropped on you pleasuring other women. I’d hear you rotate them. Intriguing moans sounding different from the night’s before.

But they never stayed, and you never let them. I knew I was different. And I knew that because it was morning.

I heard you wake up, but I pretended to be asleep. You didn’t wake me up. You wanted me to stay in your bed. It comforted you, didn’t it?

I heard you in the shower and peeked when you came out, with only that red towel around your waist; shoulders gleaming from drips of water that you failed to dry off. You were like that, leaving some things unfinished. It didn’t surprise me.

I heard you in the kitchen making your breakfast, probably oatmeal with peanut butter. I knew that because you had four bowls in your sink, dirty with the same contents. I dozed off while you were eating and probably pretending to read. You couldn’t focus, could you?

I heard the door close and lock behind you. Sleepily I wondered if I should walk the ten steps back to my own apartment, but I didn’t.

Excitedly and a bit curiously I fell back asleep, wanting to soak in the sheets that you slept in every night. After a while I felt you come back to bed and wrap your arms around my head, supporting its weight as you turned the pages of your book. Finally, you focused as I pretended to sleep. Still. Nothing mattered in that moment, did it? Through the slits of my eyes, I looked around the room and saw your leather jacket hanging from the fold of your closet door, next to the ties you wore to formals. I pictured you dressed up with your fraternity brothers. Do you remember those ties? I do.

I thought back to that girl as I was waking up, sweet as she was. And how that was never a date she had with you. How I deemed her naïve. But here I was, letting you hold me, despite it all.

Thanks for reading…

This short story is a loose memoir, reflecting on what it’s like to fall in love with the wrong person in an average US college party town.

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Carrie Jean is a Midwestener-turned-Californian front-of-house veteran with over 12 years in the restaurant industry. Now she writes about mindset, jobs, dogs, and how to manage all three. In addition to writing, she offers virtual assistance and vocal talent. Fun Fact: She loves Abe Lincoln.

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