Eye contact. Smile. Look away. A sideways glance. Eye contact. Grin. Uncertain Laughter.
“Is it just me or is this super awkward?”
“It's not just you.”
“Well that's a relief...”
Pause. Look away. Look up.
“So, you like me, huh?”
“I mean... I don't know you.”
“But I would like to.”
“Oh.” A smile.
A meeting. Refreshments. Conversation. Laughter. Conversation. Deep and intimate thoughts, exchanged.
“This is weird.”
“I don't know...” Awkward half-laugh. “I guess it's just that, we've only just met. You and I have really only seen each other a few times but the way we talk, it's familiar. Like we've been exchanging witty banter for years now and this is just a part of our routine.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“No... It shouldn't be...”
“You don't seem sure of your answer.”
“I suppose I'm just not used to letting people in.”
“Is that what's happening here? You're 'letting me in'?”
“I think so.”
“Does that scare you?”
Another meeting. More conversation. More laughter. Performances given. Performances observed. Performances, enjoyed. A car ride. A confession.
“Hey, can I tell you something?”
“I haven't been totally honest with you.”
“Well, you see,” inhale, “I like you. I mean, I guess I have sort of a crush on you. It's fine if you don't feel the same I just – I wanted to clear the air.”
Time wasted. Time spent. Time shared. A plan. A get together. A weekend get away. Alcohol. A touch. A joke becomes a proposition. A kiss.
“I thought you didn't feel the same way about me.”
“Maybe I changed my mind. Maybe you misunderstood me. Maybe I lied. You'll never know.”
“Maybe.” Pause. “I'm not looking for a relationship.”
More kissing. Touching. A break. Lie down. Sleep. A day passes.
“What happened yesterday probably shouldn't happen again.”
“I really like you. I don't want to get hurt.”
Weeks pass. A friendship grows. Feelings grow. Two people. A sleep over. A morning spent together. An afternoon spent together.
“I have a problem.”
“What is it?”
“Well, remember what I said? About keeping 'us' a friendship?”
“I changed my mind.”
“I want you. And even if I can't have all of you, I like you a lot. I shouldn't not do something because I'm afraid of being hurt.”
A nod. Smile. Lean in. Kiss. Kiss harder. Fall back. Hands push. Pull. Hips sway. Fingers wander. Lips wander. A tongue slips. Lips part. A moan. A sigh. A plea.
A dynamic changes. Hugs. Hands held. Kisses. Warm embraces. Bodies fit like puzzle pieces. Heads on shoulders. Sounds absorbed. Scents memorized. Sights, mesmerized. Time passes. A dynamic changes.
“I guess I'm just afraid that, if we get together, I don't know... things will change. Or, worse, they'll end. Just like that, just as soon as they've begun.”
“I mean, we're already pretty much in a relationship, all that's missing is the title.”
“I know but it just feels different”
“Well, I don't want to pressure you but I know what I want. It's still the same. I still want you. We could stay together years or we could break up an hour from now but I'd like to give us a shot.”
“Do you want to be with me?”
Time passes. Happiness. A relationship grows. A love grows. Suddenly, things change.
“So, I think it's for sure. I think I'm leaving.”
“A couple weeks...”
“Okay... You know, as much as this is going to hurt, I think you're doing the right thing. This is really important for your future. No matter what, I support you one hundred percent.”
“Thank you. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Four days before three months. A great distance. One has been gone some days. Things have become too much. Tears. No embrace.
“I love you. I love you so much. But I can't handle this.”
“I love you too. What do you want to do?”
“More than anything, I want to be with you. I want us to be happy again. But that's not something that seems possible right now.”
“So what do you think we should do?”
“I don't know... I guess... I guess, for now, we should just be friends.”
For weeks after, her eyes watered as though she'd been staring at the sun and had only just stopped to make eye contact. She stumbled when she walked, drunk off sleepless nights and restless thoughts. Her only redeeming quality was that she did this with a smile on her face. People believed that her allergies were acting up. People believed that the medicine was having side effects. The smile she so often wore to comfort others, remained, as genuine and soothing as ever. As quickly as they were created, whole worlds shattered inside her. Universes fell apart in the folds of her skin. Stars didn't explode out of existence, they simply ceased to be and all she was left with, was the hollow black of empty space.