Joy and I went to the tallest bar in the world for her last night in Hong Kong.
At the top of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, we could barely afford one drink each, so when both of our adult beverages were sipped into oblivion, we decided to share a "Dragontini." It was pink and sweet and surprisingly strong.
The alcohol hit our brains a little harder than we expected, and as Joy and I took pictures of silent, sparkling Hong Kong from 118 floors in the sky, we found ourselves giggling like teenagers about to be evicted from prom.
Surrounded on both sides by Japanese and German business-looking people in slim-fitting suits and designer cocktail wear, Joy and I tried to maintain our facade of fancy Hong Kong ladies out on the town.
It mostly worked. I think.
We giggled because we felt literally on top of the world; we giggled because we felt pretty; we giggled because we felt like imposters; we giggled because we didn't care.
We giggled because we took these pictures.
Leaving the bar with 87 percent of our dignity intact, we strolled through the lobby looking for the right elevator back down to earth (there were five that all went SOMEWHERE). A hotel associate glided over to Joy and asked her if she could offer assistance. Feeling a little overwhelmed, Joy blurted out, "I just want to get out of here!" Smiling, the associate pointed us toward a bank of elevators where a group was gathered.
Shoved into the crowded elevator, Joy and I tried to hold it together as we dropped 118 floors down. "I just wanna get out of here..." we kept whispering to each other and silently giggling. My sides hurt so much, I thought I might barf. It was the best nausea ever.
When we finally landed in the lobby of the Ritz, we walked shoulder to shoulder through the connected mall to get to the subway station. Walking through the nearly deserted mall at night, The Monkees' Daydream Believer started playing.
Dressed up in our shabby-chic cocktail attire, toddling around in the heels we never wear, with the light buzz of a couple drinks making our faces feel warm, we softly sang along with Davy Jones, "Now you know how happy I can be..."
And I was so happy.
It was so normal, but so special. We were just Louise and Joy, being how we are; marveling at our good fortune while cackling at the absurdity of it all. All with a slight catch in the back of our throats, the threat of tears every time the Monkees sang, "Daydream believer and a homecoming queen..."
Getting a taste of the normalcy that we took for granted when we shared a city was all at once precious and cruel.
But such is my life.
I love my life in Asia, but I miss those simple, easy moments with old friends. The laughter that springs out of unexpected experiences, the intimacy of the everyday. How beautiful tinny piped-in music can sound when mingled with two warbling voices echoing through an empty mall.
I miss the alchemy of turning the mundane into a memory.
No shade on new friends, but there's something different about the friends to whom you've long ago surrendered the road map of your heart.
What do you miss? What are the everyday moments that have been distilled in your memories with your best friends? What do you miss doing with your long-distance friends?
As always, thank you for sharing and thank you for reading this far. I just miss my friend right now.