There’s a certain kind of morning here with a very specific temperature. When the thermometer drops low enough to leave you constantly hungry and tired, and there never seem to be enough sweaters or coffee to make it go away.
A cousin of rigor mortis sets into your body, and the skin on the back of your hands near your knuckles becomes coarse and white, and the wind chill makes everything hurt, even your face— especially your face.
But then you get home at night and turn the heat on just enough to keep you from waking up with a sore throat and airplane ears, but not so much that you end up covered in a clammy, full-body sweat either. Just enough so that you can sleep through the night comfortably in long sleeves wrapped up under every one of your blankets and comforters at once.
Just enough to make everything feel just right.
And then you wake up to the most delicious warmth from head to toe. And maybe you give them a little wiggle and stretch your arms and legs inside that perfect pocket of heat because it seems to have melted away all the tension in your body overnight.
You are so relaxed, in that kind of way that makes you feel incredibly awake and alive, like you’d just finished a yoga class instead of gotten a good night’s sleep. Except you have, and you feel completely rested.
It’s not like waking up from a good dream that you’re desperate to close your eyes and get back to, it’s a feeling you want to stay awake for. Something you want to keep snoozing your alarm for because you’re not hungry or tired anymore, just content. Completely and utterly content.
And you just want to soak it in for five more minutes. And then five more. And despite whatever obligations are calling you out from under the covers and into the shower, you just want to stay in this moment a little longer. In this moment where the sunshine makes you smile, and everything feels safe and happy and enough.
This one time of day it’s impossible to feel lonely.
So you do. You stay.
It’s been so long since I’ve met someone who felt like winter in Chicago. Someone I wanted to wrap myself up in. Someone who felt just right.
It’s been so long since I’ve wanted to sleep next to someone. Not drunkenly pass out next to, but actually sleep with. It’s funny how much more intimate that act is in the literal sense than it is as a euphemism. Like how safe, how comfortable someone has to feel to fall asleep in your lap. How vulnerable and childlike it is.
It’s been so long since I’ve even wanted to invite someone to my apartment to begin with. Since I’ve known I wouldn’t be waiting for them to leave, craving to be alone, but would genuinely enjoy their company enough to stretch the night out as long as possible, until the moment I literally can’t keep my eyes open anymore, and it feels so much more right for them to crawl into bed with me than it does for them to leave.
It’s been so long since I’ve met someone who made real life more exciting than my dreams. Someone I could stay awake all night talking to. Someone who made me feel alive. Someone who I always wanted five more minutes with. And then five more. Someone who having them in my life made it impossible to feel lonely.
It’s been so long since I wanted someone to stay.
I’ve gotten used to the winters here, to the rough knuckles and the wind chill. To how long and dark they are. But it’s this other type of cold I’m still trying to brave. I guess I’ve been hungry and tired in other ways too. And there never seems to be enough of these mornings to make it go away.