*accidentally stumbles into spotlight*
Uh, hi there. Long time, no see.
Just wanted to say hi, see how everyone’s been doing. I’ve been gone for a minute, and will continue to be, but how’ve you been?
I won’t lurk back into my shadows immediately, just so I can talk to a few of you a bit.
Heck, with my luck, it’ll be a time when no one responds.
Trust me, I’m trying to get back to writing. But it’s been a year and I’m so rough around the edges that I’m practically an unsanded block of wood. Please be patient with me.
sorry to disturb but!
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And on that final February day, while the sky reached from horizon to horizon in a sea of pale gray, he had a slight stammer as he uttered those words, and I will not soon forget the smile that plagued my lips and stretched them thin.
I answered the long-awaited question with a resounding "yes," and he pulled me into his chest. His heart beats a little slower than mine usually, but if I wasn't mistaken, its pace was quicker than the norm in that moment.
He pulled away. "I'm gonna have to wrap my head around that word. Girlfriend."
And I smiled. I smiled wide for hours. I'll likely feel that elation for days as I keep this secret of ours away from our friends until we think appropriate.
Once the auditorium had cleared a little, he found his way to where I sat in the back row, waiting. He sat down next to me, moving past me to get into the seat. I liked that he didn’t ask me to move for his convenience. It reminded me that I can take up space as I wish.
Then came the apologies. For not being around on my birthday, for being so busy backstage that he couldn’t come sit with me, for supposedly “letting me down four times today.” I didn’t know where he was getting this.
“Some things are a little more important than coming to school. It really is fine.”
“But it’s your birthday, and I made you cry!” He was too exasperated, too quick to blame the low points of the day on himself.
“/You/ didn’t make me cry, the circumstances did.” I shifted in my seat, pointed my body toward his only to find he had just done the same thing. “I was sad because you were feeling sick. But now you’re here, and that’s what matters.”
“I still let you down.”
“You did not.”
The conversation went on from there, never ceasing until his sister came to tell him their dad had arrived. In the lobby, as farewell, we hugged. I didn’t want to let go because he was warm and kind and wanted me to be happier than I had been.
I’d have been lying if I said I didn’t think he was a keeper.
Something boiled in her stomach. Something like anxiety. She knew she had to do it, because what other choice did she really have? She’d committed to this. It needed to happen at this point.
She tapped her feet, bit her lip, and unsuccessfully tried to stave off the feeling of dread.
The dread was all for naught, as she would soon know.
But until then, she would wait on Fate to make her decision, wait on the phone call to come. A truly lady kept in waiting.
Three hours until the ball drops and a new year dawns after the rip-roaring months which have passed me by. I keep thinking about the disasters and how few and far between they truly were when considering the high points.
Three evenings ago, after months of knowing him and being intrigued by his loveliness, we sat together, laughing in a booth in the Mexican restaurant that backed up to the hibachi. He slipped his fingers between mine, lacing our hands together until the only way you knew whose hand was whose was the color of our skin. My cheeks grew warm, and I smiled a little bit.
Before we left, we set down our things in order to have a farewell hug. His arms wrapped around me, enveloping me in his warmth. Like before, his voice was akin to a summer wind in this wintry season as he spoke: "I miss this."
"I do too."
And we stepped out into the cold, splitting ways to find each of our rides. But his warmth stayed with me, the memory of his hand clinging to mine distinct and perfect.
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