Calvin is really drunk.
Not just goofy, jokey, and smiley, but blurry—with a heavy arm draped across my shoulders as I help him up the three flights of stairs to the apartment.
“Ramón Martín.” He’s slurred this, with dreamy emphasis, at least seventy-five times tonight. To be fair, Ramón was with us until an hour ago, when we poured him into a cab. The two of them were drunken, hugging mutual fanboys.
“I can’t believe this is my life.” He leans his full weight into me and I groan. “Holls. This day was madness. Like a dream.”
I struggle with my keys, propping him against the wall to get the lock open before my next-door neighbor, Mrs. Mossman, comes out and demands we shut the hell up. As tipsy as I am from my own share of martinis, I am even more intoxicated by what I witnessed today. Calvin alone was stunning. Calvin and Ramón together were prodigious. Ramón is already an impressive baritone, and with the unfurled richness of Calvin’s guitar, his voice opened up and rolled across the theater: bottomless and infinite. They brought the house down—and this was a house full of people who have seen and heard these songs hundreds of times. Even Luis Genova came by to watch the last half hour or so, and was nearly weeping with relief that the beloved show wouldn’t die in a whimper when he left.
“And I owe it all to you.” Calvin presses his thumb below my lip. “My sweet Holland and her magical ear.” It seems to require a good deal of effort for him to focus, but when he does, he murmurs, “Your freckles really are lovely.”
Just as my heated blood seems to press up against my skin, I manage to get the door open and he trips inside, sprawling past me and onto the couch.
I stare down at him already half-asleep. Even in his rumpled clothes and his untied sneakers, I can’t help thinking, Look at you. Just look at you here in my apartment, being.
“?’S Lulu here?” he asks.
“She went home with Gene.”
He laughs, rolling to giggle into a pillow. “Gene.”
I’m unreasonably pleased that Calvin is as tickled by Gene’s old-man name as I am.
I’m less pleased, however, with Lulu’s behavior tonight. Once again, she was on obnoxious overload, teasing me in biting, passive-aggressive ways, buying shots for Calvin and Ramón, sitting on their laps, flirting shamelessly.
Lulu’s always been my wild friend, but never this sharp before. Seeing her through Calvin’s eyes is embarrassing; I want her to relax and back off, just the tiniest bit.
“She’s so jealous of you,” Calvin says, tugging his shirt up and over his head. He tosses it past the couch; a puddle of blue lands somewhere near the bay window.
I shuffle to the kitchen, getting us each a glass of water so I can pretend I don’t need to respond to this—his comment about Lulu or his apparent preference for bare skin. Calvin hiccups from the couch and then groans; thank God he doesn’t need to be at the theater until Tuesday afternoon.
“Why’s she like that?” he mumbles, and I press the glass of water into his hand.
I wonder if he’s thinking of the same moment I am, from early in the evening: Lulu climbing on Calvin, straddling his lap, pretending to dance on him, and the barely masked revulsion that spread over his face before he urged her to stand back up. I hate that Lulu flirted so brazenly with him, but even more, I hate that she made such a mockery of our marriage tonight.
“I don’t know, really.”
He opens one eye, squints at me. “I don’t think that’s true.”
“Maybe it’s what you said, she likes being the crazy one.” I mean . . . tonight definitely counted as crazy. I return to the living room and hand him the water. “Did you have fun?”
His full lips push out in a thoughtful pout. “I liked being with Ramón. I like being with you.”
The alcohol dims my natural reflexes and instead of sprinting away, my heart gives a single heavy punch to my ribs. “I like being with you, too.”
He scrunches up his nose. “But I don’t like her.”
This makes me laugh. In less than a week, I’ve discovered that Calvin is incredibly chill about nearly everything, but when he doesn’t like someone, he has zero poker face. “I can tell.”
“I’ve had friends like that,” he says, “the ones you outgrow but keep anyway.”
When he says this, a wind blows through me. I can’t tell if it feels happy or sad to realize he’s right. Lulu and I met nearly three years ago at Columbia, and have clung to each other in these months post-graduation when we’re told we’re supposed to have some idea how to adult. She’s my only girlfriend here, and I’ve wanted it to be great even if it didn’t always feel like we fit so well anymore.
“I think you’re pretty drunk to be making such sweeping statements.”
He giggles. “I’m your husband, don’t I get a say?”
He stops laughing, and for the duration of an inhale looks completely sober—in this exact moment we’re both struck by the absurdity, the incomprehensibility of our situation. And then he closes his eyes and the hysteria bubbles out of him, round and unstoppable. I have to take the water glass from his hand so he doesn’t spill it or drop it on the carpet. Calvin gets control of himself again while I watch in amusement, and then without warning he reaches up, tugging me down over him, tucking me so that I’m trapped sweetly between his body and the back of the couch. An ache spreads up my thighs, and settles heavily between my legs.