“Maybe its just lust?”
A single sliver of moonlight broke through the darkness of his room. After an hour of tossing and turning he had given up hope of escaping consciousness. Flat on his back, his hands lay folded underneath his head as if signaling his surrender.
Thoughts of her slid through his mind until one stuck.
It had been the first cool night of a balmy summer so they decided to take walk. She held a disdain for silence and kept a conversation that matched their easy pace. As they rounded a small bend, words turned into a giggle. She broke away in a playful jog the moment she saw the jungle gym.
Her eyes danced in the moonlight as he approached. She waited until he was almost within arm’s reach before turning and climbing to the top. It was a silent invitation to return to childhood with only the stars watching.
They played and chased until she spoke the words that had made that night one he would never forget.
“Monkey bars! When I was a kid I used to hang upside down on those all the time.”
With the agility of the child she once was, she climbed on top of the metal bars. Carefully, she hooked her feet under one bar and lowered herself down between the next set. Tucking her shirt in her jeans had only half worked as one side slid free. She either didn’t notice or didn’t care, but he could not pull his eyes away from her. The curtain hiding all the secret things had been pulled back revealing a peak of her flat stomach. Her skin glowed in the darkness, smooth as silk.
All it would take was the slightest tug and the curtain would fall entirely, but the same childlike spirit that had filled him as they played tag made him too shy to risk making her mad. He moved to within her reach. Her upside down smile held more than just the joy from being transported back to childhood.
He reached out slowly and pulled at the last bit of cotton clinging to her waist. With the graceful beauty of a magician’s curtain, it fell revealing the body of a goddess.
“Hey! Now I can’t see!”
He quickly obliged her by pulling the shirt over her head and off. Her laughter was that of a child, but the woman hanging in front of him was no child. The cat and mouse game continued on until he finally received his prize of a single kiss.
Once her feet hit the ground the magic disappeared. He tried to play keep-a-way with her shirt, but she made it clear that playtime had ended. They walked back and she resumed her assault on silence just as before. The moment would linger on in his mind, but like the night, it would never return the same.
“Maybe its just friendship?”
Only one thought came. The letter he had been waiting for had finally come. He had only made it through the first line. We regret to inform you…
She came and sat next to him and leaned her head on his shoulder. When everyone else wanted to make excuses on his behalf or reason it away, she somehow knew that just being there was enough for him. Her gift of quiet companionship meant more to him than all the letters in the world. Only once in the time that they sat there did she break the stillness.
It made him laugh. She laughed too and pulled closer, putting her arm around his. She was the only one who seemed to understand.
He thought about the day she left. New York City was a long way away, but she was made for a place like that. A light like her was not made for a place as dark as this. She knew herself well and never tried to be anyone else, faults and all. For as long as he had known her she had never used that as an excuse for her behavior or said, “Well, I’m just being real.”
Lying in the dark, he realized that she was not coming back. A single tear cut its path down his cheek.
“Maybe its love…”
Copyright © 2011 Adam Drake