I pulled another all nighter last night. Just when I thought I was about to get all snug in my bed, my friend, New York, called and asked me if I would drive to Kentucky to pick up his boss and kid who were broken down pretty much at the state line. After dropping a few F bombs because all I really wanted was some sleep, I told him I would. Actually, I don’t think I told him I would. I think I woke up to him in my bedroom saying “Please. I can’t drive there,” because his license is suspended. And then I thought to myself, “Why the fuck don’t I lock my door?” He comes in all the time. Mostly when he’s drunk. He will get dropped off and come pass out on top of my covers. Most of the time I hear him and just scoot over. It’s not about sex. It’s just about sleep. Apparently, it’s easy to sleep here. It’s probably a good thing that I’m single, because random friends in my bed would probably be a deal breaker and he’s not the only friend I’ve come home and found sleeping in my bed. Anyway, I got up and put my jeans and shoes on and headed out with him.
I only had about 3 hours of sleep prior to this trip because of the previous night’s adventure. And I think my exhaustion was messing with my emotions. We were driving along and I had on my Pandora radio in the car. I was channel hopping from my Reggae station, to a 90s summer songs station, to Eminem, to Adele. The interstate was quiet and peaceful and the moon was beautiful and big last night and all of a sudden a Sam Smith song came on. I think it was Not in That Way. Next thing I know I was feeling all emotional and I had a tear fall from each eye. I thought I was going to lose it and have one of those shoulder shaking cries that I’ve been feeling like I need, but then New York says, “are you crying?” And my moment was over. I wiped my eyes and changed the station to an old hip hop station.
Just when I thought my emotional roller coaster was over, the song My Body started playing and I was transported back to 1998 and a guy named Tropicana. It’s crazy how a song can make that kind of magic. I was twenty three and I was a serial club hopper that year. I went out just about every weekend. I was scheduled to work every weekend so I was basically a Monday through Friday mom during that time and on the weekends the kids would go to their other families’ houses. There used to be an O’Charley’s on the Cumberland Avenue strip on UT campus. Even though I wasn’t a student, I spent many an evening in that bar drinking and dancing and falling in love. I danced with this guy one night, all night. He was not very tall but a little taller than me, he had these big beautiful muscles and a gorgeous face. He had a little mustache and he always wore one of those fisherman type hats. He told me his name was Tropicana. I asked him why. He said it was because he does a body good. I told him that was milk but I was willing to give it a try. We spent many Saturday nights together. Over the course of about a year we were together the majority of Saturday nights. And I was smitten with him. He was older than me by 13 years or so, but I didn’t care and I’m pretty sure he didn’t mind the age difference. Of course, the whole relationship was purely physical. I didn’t even have his phone number for the longest time. We would just see each other at the club on Saturdays and know we were leaving together. We would always dance together and at the time that LSG song My Body must have been topping the charts because they always played it and whenever we were dancing with each other, he would always sing the lyrics in my ear, “Wanna fill you up til your river flows all over me. Wanna feel your precious treasure wrapped around me oh so tightly” And I would turn into mush in his hands especially after our first night together. I had already had a small amount of sex before him, but I had never really enjoyed it until him. I’m sure it’s because he was older than me and way, way more experienced, but he did things to my body and made me feel things that, really, all I can say about it is that it was a great year. Then one day, he just disappeared. He never showed up at the club again. I heard he went back to Atlanta. I also heard he went to jail for something. Either way, I never saw him again. I always think of him when I hear that song. And when I stand in the refrigerator section a little too long trying to decide on an orange juice.
And then New York said something to bring me back to reality and we talked until we reached our destination, picked up his boss and the kid and some other guy, and then I drove back to Knoxville listening to music and looking at the moon, while all my passengers snoozed and I kept channel hopping, hoping that song would come back on so I could go back to that place just one more time, but just as Tropicana had disappeared so suddenly back then, the song was also nowhere to be found.
I finally got into bed at 5:30 in the morning, only to wake up 2 hours later to start my day. I did get a nap in before work. I guess if it’s 3 hours, it’s a little more than a nap, nevertheless, I did get a little more sleep than I had the day before. There was a time when a weekend like this one would have been exactly what I wanted. Now I just want sleep. Lots of sleep and more memory filled music.