"So, did you two fuck, or what?"
Why did she have to be so straightforward?
I covered my face in minor mortification. "No, we kissed. That's all."
"He's been gone all winter, and you mean to tell me that you guys kissed? That sucks. You must not have done somethin' right."
This soft-tongued beauty is Kuma. Her real name is Rania, but despite her innocent looks, her legs are hairier than eighty percent of the boys at our school. With this in mind, she's been given the nickname "Kuma" which is Japanese for "Bear".
"Has Kyle changed at all?" She continued.
My heart dropped. I wouldn't know. I never saw his face. That was another primetime joke waiting to happen. Instead I shrugged. "His hair has gotten longer."
"Can we please stop talking about this right now?!"
I was getting angrier by the second. Not by Kuma, but by how pathetic I sounded. My boyfriend finally decides to come home after three months and I have nothing to show for it. Besides, Kuma was joking. She wouldn't dare say these things seriously. I looked at her. Her eyes were looking into the road behind me, searching.
"Where the fuck is the bus?!" She blurt out. I snickered at her outburst.
"What are you so eager to do when you get home anyway?" I braced myself. I already knew the answer.
"To sleep! And to lie in front of my air conditioner. It's too fuckin' hot! I need some snow! AAAHHHHH!!!!!"
I was laughing so hard I had to hold my aching stomach. These excessively ardent outbursts of hers always made waiting with her at the bus stop worthwhile.
She took a hand to her head and began twisting her auburn hair.
"Well, I'm glad that you got to see him."
"Because," she took in a breath, looking away from me, "You...have been acting weird lately. For awhile you were fine, and then you started getting all depressed and shit."
I looked away from her in thought. I hadn't noticed. "Really? I have?"
"You weren't moping around with a blank expression, slouched over and sighing heavily, but you were different. Less lively. Less respondent. I remember slipping in some snow last month and you didn't even flinch. You've been thinking about him a lot, haven't you?"
I nodded. I looked at the sky. Only a few clouds were present in the light blue. A breeze began to blow, and I began to smile.
"My bus is here. About fucking time! Shit!"
As she boarded the bus, she turned to me, her eyes piercing through her purple eyeliner. "You two better fuck!"
I immediately turned away from the driving bus and power walked away, completely embarrassed.
Why did she say that so loud?
When I got home, I stared at the ceiling from my bed, thinking about Kyle. It'd been a couple of days since our blind make-out reunion, and I was growing impatient. Why didn't he want me to see his face? After all this time, had he not wanted me to see him? Did something happen to his face? Couldn't have. I may not have seen his face, but I felt it. It was as smooth as I remembered. I sat up and turned, letting my feet touch the ground. I leaned over and pulled out a small shoebox. I made myself comfortable on my bed again and opened my window, letting the breeze flow in.
I opened the box and beamed at the picture atop the pile. Two teenage boys smiling amongst a tree bark. I looked at the one on the right. He had one arm around the other boy and was holding the camera with the other. He looked so at peace. His high cheek bones, bright smile, and black, curly, neck-length hair made him a dead ringer for Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. I laughed silently at my association. The boy on the left was smiling like a boy on his birthday, surrounded by presents. I barely recognized him. He had really short brown hair, tanned skin, and had his head on the other boy's shoulder. They both looked so happy. Who were they? A breeze blew and the picture disappeared from my hand.
"Pretty nice picture of us, dont'ya think?"
"Yeah, it's nice." I responded, keeping my eyes in the box.
A hand grabbed my shoulder and pulled me into a muscular chest. I buried my face in it, breathing in Kyle's scent. He smelled so good. I felt two of his fingers graze my face and gently pull me to his face. I closed my eyes. The fingers turned into a palm rubbing my face.
"It's ok. You can do it now."
I reluctantly opened my eyes. Before they were halfway open, they began to flood.
"I've missed you so much Tracy."
He held my crying face in his hands. He stared deep into my eyes. I could feel his guilt through his fingertips. I wanted so bad to kiss him. To touch him. To show him how much he still meant to me.
I took my hands to his waist and pulled him to me. At once, he embraced me. I felt his tears merge with mine between our cheeks. I let out a sob, somewhat surprised at my emotion. I shook my head, letting out a little of my growing hysteria. I pulled his face in front of me. I stared at it, searching for changes. Aside from the tears, he looked the same. Those deep brown eyes peered at me helplessly.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to--"
I put a hand to his lips. "It's okay."
I kissed him gently. I took his hand in mine. I watched his eyes rise above his eyelids and close.