This is not a love story.

This is not a love story. Let me make that clear. Love stories have definitive beginnings and definitive endings. A plot, a conflict, and a resolution -- the sickly sweet happy ending where our happy couple skips off into the sunset, hand in hand, while the violins thrum madly in the background.

That's not going to happen here. At least, I don't see it happening. Ever. And I'm OK with that. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

But I suppose I should fashion a beginning of sorts, since I still have your attention.

~*~

August 1999

She turned away from  me laughing, her hand reaching up to open a cupboard. We were in her kitchen. The spare light of evening lay between us like a gossamer blanket. That transparent. That full of possibilities, of stones unturned and doors unopened.

She opened the cupboard, her profile in sharp relief against the raised wood of the cupboard door. She had a classic face with an upturned nose, a delicate jaw, and eyes of a bright jade green that sparkled whenever she was excited over something. A face made for cameos, made for photographs taken in sepia.

I cupped my face in my hands and just stared, drinking her in. She hummed lightly as she rooted around in the cupboard, a habit of hers whenever she was concentrating. I couldn’t discern the tune and this bothered me, somehow. Suddenly she stopped humming and cried out, making me jump.

“Finally! Here it is.” She sighed with satisfaction as she removed a large mason jar from the cupboard, and I felt my blood pressure stabilize. She was always doing that – exclaiming over something or other, whether it was a puppy or a roach. The problem was that her shouts always sounded the same, so you never could tell just what she was shouting about until you got up close.

“What’s that for?” I asked, eyeing the jar warily and hoping she didn’t have any culinary aspirations in her plans for tonight. My culinary aspirations only extended as far as the microwave, like many other college students my age.

She turned towards me with a ready smile. “This is for the fireflies you and I are going to be catching tonight.”

"Do you know I've never seen a firefly?"

She closed the cupboard and turned toward me, her wide eyes even wider in her small face. "Really?"

"Yeah. I didn't even know we had them here in Miami. "

"Well, you are going to see your first firefly tonight, buster. Just you stick with me."

I felt like telling her I'd stick with her no matter what, to remind her I'd been sticking with her since the seventh grade. But I've learned there are moments you speak up and moments you keep the words inside, hidden, waiting for the day when you'll really need them.

The End

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