It’s 3 PM on the Fourth of July. Vanilla soft serve melts down your wrist, seeking shelter from the sun. You’re staring at the ocean. I’m staring at you. You lick your wrist, never taking your eyes off of the horizon. A single bead of sweat drips down past your temple, and I’m wondering how your tongue would feel along the curves of my body. I’m wondering where you are right now, and if it feels as peaceful as you look. I’m wondering if you’ve seen what fireworks look like during the day. I’m wondering…if I cradled your neck and pulled you into me, would you see them?
You arrive at my window like clockwork, always when the light starts to hit the side of the bed I don’t sleep on. I think this is your way of saying, I belong there. You are quiet; insistent. I am bashful; hesitant.
Two gentle taps on the window. I pretend not to hear, keeping my eyes fixed upon the page in front of me. We both know it’s easier for me to read a book than to read the narrative so beautifully written across your face.
“Come chase me through the lavender field!” Even muffled, your voice finds its way down my spine. Today is not the day to stay inside.
Walking aimlessly in the sunshine, I think of you. I think of leaving. I pick up a dandelion and wish to sprout wings. My chest expands with everything I am dying to become. I pass people who do not recognize me anymore. I do not care. I am screaming. I do not care. I take a picture of the sun beyond the leaves. I set it as my phone wallpaper so that I do not forget what warmth feels like. I don’t yet know what you feel like, but one day, I will want to forget.
On a Saturday morning, we eat croissants on the steps of a rust-colored building. New York hasn’t yet decided upon summer, and I haven’t yet decided whether this wind warrants a request to borrow your jacket. People wander past endlessly. Snippets of conversation graze my ears, but I cannot be distracted from your presence. You tell me why the sky is blue, and I ponder the gravitational force behind your eyes. You draw me closer until I can’t see the sky anymore—until we are nothing but lips and sighs.
“We’ll never make it,” I say as I look up at a sky the color of a deep bruise, lost in the middle of Central Park. The air between us is thick with the threat of rain and the electricity of sexual tension. I’m convinced there would be no difference between being struck by lightning and being touched by you. You take my hand and we start in an unfamiliar direction, our pace quickening with every clap of thunder. Running with our fingers intertwined, we fumble, continually stepping on each other’s feet; laughing, vibrating with uncertainty and unspoken desire. One second we are dry, and the next, we are drenched. I can only understand this as a metaphor for the way I am falling for you.
The Q train is packed, and my back is pressed up against the far wall in a corner without seats. You are practically on top of me. I am not complaining. With your hips in my hands, I hold you steady as we cross the bridge into Manhattan. Surrounded by people, and unable to catch the view from the window, I have nowhere to look but into your eyes. I struggle with this. I cannot control my face—you know, the one with the irrepressible smirk and flushed cheeks, a wrinkling nose, and lips pressed together like a five-year-old with a mischievous secret.
I do have a secret.
My secret is a pile of flower petals swept up by the wind, swirling around my ribcage. My secret is the hourglass kept in my stomach that measures time by the distance between your smiles. It currently flips every time you look at me. My secret is that I’m in love with you. My secret is that I’m always afraid my face will give me away before my words can.
Glinting beneath the surface of the pool, a penny throws fragments of the sun to your cheeks. I watch these tiny, golden dots dance upon your face as you look at me quizzically, wondering what my darting eyes are attempting to fixate on. With a splash, you vanish, desperate to get to the bottom of everything. You are always seeking answers; your existence is a question you’ve been trying to dissect for years. I watch as you descend into the blues, the lines of your body blurring into the waves. I know you would make your home down in the shadows if you could.
I would, too. ♦