Posts Tagged ‘hope’

He’s here, and we’re at my favorite place. The tree that I’ve considered my foundation since childhood stands and waves like it’s welcoming us – the ocean singing and celebrating behind it. We keep our distance from each other, as we always have, and he walks ahead of me to take in the view.

“I can see why you love it here,” he says as I approach. I smile and let his presence consume me while I try to reconcile the fact that he has entered into the location of my most private memories, my sacred place, my home. I’m nervous because I know that if he leaves, this place will never be the same for me. It will be soiled. It will be darkened and I will never get it back.

We circle each other, calculate our moves to ensure we don’t overstep any boundaries. We are friends, but we are also very aware that our connection runs much deeper than that. As he glances up at me through his eyelashes, I’m reminded of the line that Edmund says to Fanny Price in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park: “Surely you and I are beyond speaking when words are clearly not enough.”

We rarely speak. We communicate mostly by meeting in stares, or by the electricity that forms between our bodies if we stand too close to one another. I know his soul. I know his thoughts by looking at his face, at his hands. I’ve never known anyone as well as I do him. I’ve never shared as comfortable a silence with anyone as I do with him – a silence that somehow still says so much.

When the sun starts to set, and the blue green of the ocean is contrasted against the pinks and oranges of the sky, I pull out my disposable camera. I want to keep this moment forever. I want to be able to carry it with me. I beckon him over and we stand in front of my tree – his arm hanging over my shoulders, his cheek resting on the top of my head. I hold the camera out and begin to count, “one….two….three…” and the second before my finger presses the shutter release, his lips press against my cheek.

My face feels like it’s on fire, and the flames spread throughout my whole body but I’m frozen in place. I lower the camera, afraid to look at him because I know my cheeks are flushed, but I can feel him staring, trying to read me. I have to make a decision quickly before his closeness suffocates me: either I can acknowledge what just happened and make it out to be more than it was or I can laugh it off, call him a dork, walk away. I choose the latter.

When I raise my eyes to his though, I’m met with a patient intensity that I’ve never seen before. There’s a slight smile on his mouth. His eyes are sparkling. I can’t think of anything to say, I can’t think of anything save for the fact that not enough air is reaching my lungs. I’m not breathing. My heart is pounding so hard that it rings in my ears. I make an instinctive decision: I smile and roll my eyes and begin to step away, but his hand catches the crook of my elbow and pulls me back with enough force that I only stop moving when our mouths crash together.

I can feel every particle of his skin as his fingers touch my neck, cradle my head, get tangled in my hair – hesitant at first, and then hungry. My brain is swimming, my lungs are burning, my knees are buckling. I grab hold of his denim jacket for support as our lips break apart and he rests his forehead against mine. We just stand there for a moment completely still except for the quick rising and falling of our chests.

Suddenly, he begins to move. He takes my face in his hands, touches his lips to my forehead so softly I can barely feel it, and steps back, his cheeks flushed. He glances down at his feet sheepishly and all I want to do grab hold of him and never let him go. But I know what we are and I know that this is just another memory of home that I’ll be able to hold onto.

Our eyes meet for one last time and we both know that as soon as this stare breaks, this will be over and we’ll go back to how we used to be: circling each other, keeping our distance. I smile at him, making sure that everything about how he looks is burned into my memory – his hands in his pockets, his eyes sort of glazed, his brows slightly furrowed, and the sun setting behind him. It takes all of my strength to pull my eyes away from his.

I begin to walk back towards the car. He follows, but not too close.


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