I remember certain nights for no reason. I recall them with such a fondness you’d think that it was the night I met my one true love or something. Not even close.

There was an apartment in Soho I went to twice. It belonged to my friend Michael’s boss and it was so fucking chic. The first night i went over there it was for an adult dinner party. I say adult because everybody, minus me, Michael, and our friends Brandon and Stephanie, was in their 40s and up. These people had full lives, long marriages, and liked to trade war stories about Old New York. I just sat there and drank up their maturity hoping that it’d be contagious. I also drank a lot of wine. Like a lot. A well-known secret about adults is that they like to get low-key wasted. They’re not going to puke in someone’s hair and start fights but they will casually drink two bottles of wine and slur their words and rub a stranger’s arm. I like the way adults get drunk. It’s relaxed, casual, not #dark. I’d like to think I get drunk like that but I probably don’t. Not yet.

Anyways, Brandon, Stephanie, and I drank wine with the adults. We started talking to this man who lived with his wife and two children in Park Slope. He was warm, kind, and sort of resembled Joss Whedon. I adored him. When I lived in New York, I would often gravitate to adult figures because, well, I needed them. With the exception of my sister, all of my family lived in California so whenever I came across someone who seemed like they had their shit together, I would be like, “OMG, tell me everything you know about life. Also, can you tuck me into bed and tell me to wear a sweater because it’s cold outside?”

The man and I talked for a long time and it was great because he wasn’t dismissive of me. Later, when all the wine had been drunk and my body felt sufficiently heavy, I said my goodbyes and started to walk home. I thought to myself, “Wow. That was such a cozy magical night. I felt so safe there!” And maybe that’s why the night sticks with me so much. I rarely felt comfortable in New York. In my mind, I was always one misstep away from being burnt toast. Occasionally though, I would have nights like this one where I experienced glimmers of a calm and protected life.

A few months later I went back to the apartment. There was no dinner party this time. Just me, Brandon, Stephanie, Michael, our friend Rion and two obnoxious queens I’d never met before. Oh my god, they were just so cunty. You know those gay guys who behave like literal demons? And you’re just like, “Stop! Be real. You were once a closeted fourteen year old who masturbated to Ryan Phillippe under the covers. I know you. I was you.”

The one saving grace was the music. One of the dudes was playing Rihanna and introduced me to the best song known to gay man, which is “Watch n’ Learn.” He also played some Mac DeMarco. I’d never heard of him before and was instantly obsessed with his lo-fi dreamy sound. Now, a year later, I’m listening to Mac DeMarco’s new record at my apartment in Los Angeles. I’m not trying to make a profound connection here. Just talking. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Ryan O'Connell

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