Our platinum-level seats at the Mavs game were, in a word, awesome. To the right of center court, second level, and only 20 steps from the nearest platinum-level bar. Joyce and Joey sat next to us, and a handful of obnoxious, overdressed San Antonio Spurs fans sat in front of us. Our frosty beers sweat in their clear, plastic cups in cup holders at our knees.
Good friends, good beer, and Cayden. The Mavs could lose by 60 points and I'd still be in heaven.
My parents sat up in the nosebleeds next to Evan (my art director) and his wife. They looked like little Polly Pocket characters from where I was sitting. It looked like I could pick them up between my thumb and pointer finger and dance them around th separate compartments of the Polly Pocket Shell.
I stood up and waved frantically until they spotted me. Those were originally our seats, but then Joyce got the platinum-seat hookup at work, so I gladly sold our tickets to anyone willing to buy.
Armed with $30 giftcards each, we made trip after trip to the bar. We thought it would be easy to drink $120 worth of beer between the four of us, but after spending $60, our faces were red and our voices were hoarse from excessive cheering. The Spurs fans in the polos and pearls in front of us weren't amused. So we went back for ice cream, popcorn, and Mavs beanies for Joey and Cayden.
Cayden and I laughed and cheered and screamed and talked and ate and drank. Then we went exploring.
We passed by the dessert cart and my mouth watered when I saw the smores cake. We bought another drink at the Dump Lounge. Yes, it was really called the Dump Lounge. We made fun of three guys walking past us wearing jewel-encrusted Affliction shirts that were at least 3 sizes too small.
"That's what I was going to get you for Christmas," I said, pointing at the back of one of the shirts, trying not to laugh. It was covered in sparkly skulls and fleur de lis. "But last-minute I opted for the Mavs tickets."
"I still don't know why you think those shirts are so awful," he said, laughing along with me, but meaning every word he said. "They're not THAT bad, are they?"
"Cayden, let's just say had you been wearing one of those the night I met you in the bar, I would have kicked your ass in a completely different way."
He laughed and shook his head, still unable to comprehend my hatred for Affliction and Ed Hardy and most printed Ts in general.
"Oh, look, come here!" I said, pulling Cayden's arm as I headed toward a glass door alongside the platinum-level food court. I pushed through the door and pulled him out onto a balcony. We stood there looking up at the stars. The sounds of cheering and buzzers and squeaking shoes muted once the door shut behind us.
"Wow, it's so quiet," he said, putting his arm around me. I used his arm to steady myself. Apparently staring straight up at a star-filled sky isn't the best idea after four cups of beer. I leaned in against him and looked straight instead of up.
"Too bad there's not a better view," I said, gesturing toward the American Airlines Center parking lot and a stretch of Highway 35.
He turned me to face him.
"I quite like the view," he said, then bent down to kiss me. [Cue the cheesy music and slow-motion camera shot.]
By the time we got back to our seats, Joyce and Joey were back from their exploration as well. Joey handed me a cup full of what looked like iced coffee.
"What is this?" I asked, taking a whiff. It smelled like coffee and Bailey's and rubbing alcohol, with a little hint of Listerine thrown in for good measure.
"It's called coffee and a donut," he explained. "I already ate the donut. Try it!"
I took a swig and it tasted better than it smelled, surprisingly.
"Not bad," I said. "But I think I'm going to stick to my beer."
We clinked our plastic cups together and turned back toward the game.
Cayden squeezed my hand.
'So, when I move here, can we get Mavs season tickets?" he asked.
Just like earlier, when he said "when I move here," my emotions went into overload. I wanted to throw my beer in the air and laugh and cry and dance in a little circle. Or maybe that was the beer talking.
"Of course we can, babe," I said, squeezing my beer so I wouldn't be tempted to throw it.
"We're going to have such a good life together once we live together," he said. I was over the moon.
Those Mavs tickets were the best Christmas present I could have given him. Well, maybe it would have been a little better had the Mavs won (they lost 93-99), but it didn't even matter.
"C'mon, Cayden and I found a balcony when we were out exploring," I said to Joyce and Joey when the final buzzer sounded. "Let's wait out the traffic up there."
Cayden and I led the way, weaving in and out of Mavs fans leaving the stands. We passed the Affliction crowd again and I made a gagging face at Cayden.
Once outside, we took deep breaths and let the alcohol buzz around in our heads, on our mouths.
I wanted to lie down on the cool cement, pull Cayden down on top of me. I couldn't wait to get home and under the covers with Cayden. I wanted to stay up all night and then sleep in all day, wearing nothing but the sheets from my bed and a random sock that managed to survive the ripping-each-others'-clothes-off portion of the night.
"Guess what tomorrow is?" I said to no one in particular.
"Moving day?" Joyce asked.
"Damn, I was going to say New Year's Eve," I said.
So much for my random sock idea.