I often find myself wondering what brings others peace, and, even more frequently, when was the last time that they truly felt at peace.
When I ask myself this question, my mind always travels back to this past November. There lies a moment that I can remember perfectly as if it were a film being projected onto a screen. After a long day of walking around, attending a variety of workshops, and competing at a state theatre convention, three troupe members and I retired to our hotel room. I remember rushing to the bathroom to take the first shower of the evening so that I could get to sleep as early as possible. When I collapsed onto the bed, I felt my body slowly sink into the mattress as if someone had placed weights inside the marrow of my bones.
Whenever I sleep, the room has to be at a cold temperature. But, for some reason, my friends insisted on keeping the room hot and humid for the time being. So what did I do? I took my shirt off, slid under the cool sheets, leaving one of my legs and my chest and upwards exposed, hoping that I could somehow absorb the coolness from the fabric of the covers. Once I got situated, I turned on my playlist titled "Jazz for Lovers". Have I ever had a lover? No, never. But I am a hopeless romantic, and jazz is my ideal lover. I turned on Louis Armstrong’s "Let’s Fall in Love". While my friends were finishing up their showers and their nightly routines, I laid in bed with my eyes closed, my breathing soft, enjoying the feeling of the cool sheets against my bare skin. I found contentment in that moment, and it felt as though the earth had stopped spinning.
I’m sure you reading this may wonder why I was laying in a hotel bed practically naked with three other girls in the room, and I’ll tell you.
I have known every girl in that room for a minimum of 3 years, and our friendships are strong. We know that each of us can be vulnerable with each other, which we have, in ways that include, but are not limited to: sharing our fears, crying into each other's laps, one of my friends asking me if her butt looks good in the nudes she took, amongst many other things. It is such a liberating feeling to be able to be so vulnerable with someone and know that no judgement will exist.
In that moment, we were all doing our own frivolous tasks: one still showering, one half-naked and brushing her wet hair, and one reading silently beside me, the both of us enjoying the sounds of jazz that echoed through the room. All of us found comfort in the presence of each other, and I found my peace within theirs.
Eventually, the rest of them decided that they couldn’t bear the heat any longer, and we all fell asleep to the sounds of soft breathing and the caress of the cold winter air.