Posts Tagged ‘romance’

I was standing on the porch when I felt you move from beside me, straight out into the pouring rain. You got about 10 feet away, threw your arms out around you, and looked back at me – wet hair covering your eyes and a smile that I was just getting to know. My heart felt like it was beating with the rhythm of the rainfall, quick and uneven. I ran after you. We danced and screamed at the sky for what felt like hours and minutes at the same time. Thunder crashed and I fell to the ground, my back on the wet grass, letting the earth swallow me whole. You were laughing and saying something to me, but I was watching the water drip from your hair to your mouth and wondering where you came from. You reached for my hand and pulled me up to you, mumbling something about lightening. I followed you inside.

The cold hit me so hard I almost ran back out into the rain, but you had already scurried off to a room I’d never seen and left me dripping wet in your doorway. I felt awkward as I stood there shivering, wondering if I should stay put or try to follow your footprints to wherever you went. But you returned, a ball of fabric in your hands, hair pushed back from your still-boyish face. Your voice was soft and off-balance and you wouldn’t meet my eyes.

“Here’s some clothes. The bathroom’s down the hall on the left.”

Purple sweatpants and a light green community baseball league t-shirt. Red socks. I didn’t even bother looking in the mirror. I pulled my hair into a bun, left my clothes in the sink, and followed the noise to the kitchen. You didn’t notice me right away, so I watched as  you moved around the tiny room. Gray sweatpants. White t-shirt. Black socks. One of your sleeves was pulled up to your shoulder and I remember watching your muscles move as you poured two drinks. Your hair was still dripping water down your neck.

I cleared my throat as I crossed into the room and you looked over at me, your eyes starting at my feet and making their way to mine before you smirked.

“You look great.” Your voice was huskier than before. “Do you like whiskey?”

I told you I had a rule against drinking with people who own purple sweatpants and you said you didn’t own any, that these were your sister’s clothes. I asked your sister’s name and you hesitated just a beat too long. Caught. I took the whiskey, anyway.

We sat on a blanket on the floor in the living room and played “Go Fish” while we talked about James Taylor and how you broke your arm at a skating rink when you were seven. And I told you about the time the ice cream lady was giving away free kittens so I took one home and was banished from the ice cream truck for the rest of the summer. We played “Slap Jack” and you made fun of me for slapping the deck every time, regardless of what card was on top. I told you to stop being a sore loser.

It felt like there were bats flying around in my chest – an excited nervousness that I forgot existed and wasn’t quite expecting. I felt a small thrill every time our hands touched or our eyes met. Like we were 16 years old, flirting at a friend’s birthday party. But then the cards got boring, as they do, and we just sort of sat there in a silence that wouldn’t have been uncomfortable if we knew each other better. But silences are always filled with an unforgiving pressure when you’re getting to know someone, and realizing you’re at a loss for words incites a type of panic. Our eyes danced around each others. You kept pulling at the bracelet around your wrist. I pulled my legs to my chest and rested my head on my knee, eyes still cast in your direction, waiting for you to say something. Anything.

Finally, you grabbed your phone and I reveled in the way the screen lit up the imperfections of your face but somehow made you look even better. I figured you were texting someone, momentarily bored with the lull in our evening, so I stood up to take my glass to the kitchen. Instantly, I felt the whiskey in my face. And I heard it. That song I was telling you about the night we met.

There I was, standing in an unfamiliar house wearing a stranger’s clothes and trying to will myself to stop swaying (Was I even swaying? I felt like I was swaying). And when I turned to look at you, you were just standing there. Looking at me. A dumb closed-mouth smile spread across your whiskey-flushed face. And that song was playing. And none of it made any sense. But then you moved closer to me, your hands tugging at that ugly green shirt I was wearing, pulling me closer. And you kissed me, nervously at first. Testing. Seeking permission. And then without restraint.

We kissed until I couldn’t remember what my body felt like without your arms around it, until we didn’t know how much time had passed. “When did the song stop playing?” You asked. I wrapped my arms around your shoulders and pressed my face to your neck, not wanting the moment to end. Your body felt so solid against mine.

I thought about how I almost told you no when you asked if I wanted to come with you to see your friend’s band earlier that day. The first time we met was so weird, and you were so cagey and hard to understand, and I wasn’t in the mood to meet anyone new. I had just moved back to town and you had shown up while I was away. And somehow we ended up alone on your friend’s kitchen floor and you asked me if there was a song I loved and hated at the same time, one that I would listen to even though I knew it would make me sad. I remember the feeling of your eyes on me. Expectant.

“‘She Belongs to Me’ by Bob Dylan.” I said, finally. You waited.


“The way he seems to be in awe of her, of the fact that she’s his. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be seen that way.” I immediately felt silly and pulled myself up off the cold floor. “It’s stupid.”

You didn’t say anything. You just watched me walk out of the room.

And somehow that random moment at a party I didn’t even want to be at led to a thunderstorm, a deck of abandoned cards scattered across the floor, and a whiskey kiss with a boy that looked at me with purpose, like I’d disappear if his eyes left me for too long.

You truly never know when your life is going to change.


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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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