Short story about love.
“Right hand, yellow,” he said as I threaded my arm beneath him and lay my hand flat against the rainbow spotted plastic mat. I was now in a full gymnastic bridge; my feet separated, one on blue, the other on green; arms spread over my head, one on purple, the other on orange; my back arched beneath his flat stomach.
“Spin for me?” I begged. He rolled his eyes and reached across me to spin the red arrow. I craned my neck to see through the gap where his shoulder met his neck. “Ha!” I cried, “Right foot blue.” The remaining blue dot was slightly behind my left leg. He shifted his leg over my raised pelvis so that his legs and arms were separated by my body.
“Uh-oh,” he giggled, eyes widening and a dark eyebrow rising.
“Don’t even think about it. If you fall, I win. That means you’ll have to take off those beary cute boxers.” His underpants were brick red and patterned with adorable little teddy bears.
“Not if you fall first.” He teased.
“Not a chan—“ I was cut off as he bent his head to my mouth. He kissed me lightly until my head was dizzy.
“Give up yet?” He asked after we’d disengaged.
“Nope.” I breathed. He rolled his eyes and kissed me until my arms gave out.
I lay in the tangled bed sheets nestled between his arms as the sun rose in the sky. His warm breath tickled my neck as I snuggled deeper under the covers. I stretched one leg followed by the other and then each arm, failing to stifle a yawn. I gazed wonderingly through half closed eyes at our hair; his jaw-length brown hair tangled with my chocolate locks, as if they were a representation of lives and how they were woven together.
On that early morning I took a moment to reflect on our relationship. I remembered the first time we hugged, the first time our lips met, when we first held hands as a couple. I could clearly picture everything we had ever done together; all the highschool sporting event where we sat in the bleachers holding hands; the dark corner of the movie theater where we shared stuffed bags of popcorn and boxes of Gobstoppers; each and every time we lay in bed together. The one thing I couldn’t remember was where and when we first met.
We’d both grown up surrounded by the same people, we hung out at the same places, and even shared a sprinkling of classes together. But when did we officially meet? On the playground? No, I was always in the library with my nose in a book. At a middle school dance? No, I always sat on the bleachers away from everyone.
That’s when it hit me.
November twenty-first, three years ago. I was scraping my feet along a sidewalk with my bag slung over my shoulder, hood pulled up over my head, earbuds jammed into my head, and tears brimming my eyes. I walked to get away from my emotions, to isolate myself from normal people so I wouldn’t have to suffer through their pitying stares and comments. My parents had passed away due to a drunk driver over the summer. Counseling wasn’t working, not after I’d seen them in the morgue, so walking became my method of coping with the built up nerves.
That was when he first made contact with me. Before I had time to contemplate what was going on, he was walking with me, his long pale fingers intertwined with mine. I didn’t know this boy, not personally. He was just another guy in my Freshmen class, another face I had tried to avoid. And yet, he was still there walking silently with me. He didn’t know me any more than I knew him, and yet he took me back to my aunt’s empty house and held me while I cried.
The sun had risen higher in the sky while I meandered down memory raceway. I turned over and kissed him beneath the bottom edge of his jaw. He exhaled and moaned drowsily as he blinked his eyes open. He smiled at me. “Morning.”
“Morning.” I replied. He rolled onto his back and gently pulled me toward him so he could wrap his arms around me. I snuggled into his warmth and lay my cheek on his smooth chest and wrapped my arms around his torso. His heart was thumping a soft melody in my ear, my personal lullaby. I wanted to know if he remembered our meeting. I didn’t want to come right out and say something like, “Hey, do you remember where we first met? Oh, you do? Well then, where? You don’t know do you? Oh, let me guess. You forgot?” That was something old married couples argued about. Besides, I knew he hadn’t forgotten.
I wanted to ask him a question with more meaning. Something deeper. I didn’t know what to ask though. I wanted to ask the right thing, not that I would know what the right question was or anything. What I didn’t want to do was hurt him I didn’t want him to prove himself. I knew he loved me. He had always been there for me, my first kiss, my first love, my first everything. If he didn’t love me, then he would have moved on already. No, I knew he loved me.
I just wanted to know why.
“What are you thinking about?” He asked breaking into my reverie. He was looking down at me with his soft brown eyes, a finger rubbing my arm, elbow to shoulder.
“What was I wearing when we first met?” The corner of his mouth pulled up into a half smile.
“Dark grey jeans, a deep violet t-shirt, and a back hoodie with a hood too big for your head. Your feet were covered with blue converse, soaked of course because it had rained.” Of course. He folded a section of my hair behind my ear, the back of his fingers caressing my neck and jaw bone. I couldn’t believe he remembered all that, but he wasn’t done yet. “Your bangs hid your eyebrows,” here a finger traced a brow on my forehead, “The rest of your hair clung to your neck in a static haze. Your black messenger bag was slung on your left shoulder, and you had blue earbuds in your ears.” I felt my eyes widen. He remembered, he really did.
There was one more question to ask. “What was on the pockets of the jeans?”
For that there was only one answer.