The full moon almost made her forget how late it was. She’d suggested the late night walk to the neighborhood park because she hadn’t been ready to go home. Likely enthralled by her randomness, the usually over-cautious 22-year-old had agreed. They had been sitting on a recently installed green bench, near the under-construction playground, for a while. His back was as it should be, but hers was slouched and slanted toward him, making her sitting position, legs stretched over his lap and arms resting on her knees, only slightly more comfortable. He’d gently suggested they should head back once already, but was allowing her to linger. She was tired, her back had already protested, and she had an early flight, but still, she lingered.
They say new love is like that. Forgiving, not pushy. Later, his gentle suggestions regarding time would turn into stricter scheduling rules he would insist on sticking to and she would make fun of. As for her, the back pain and tiredness would soon be vociferous and regular complaints he could, at best, treat with gentle caresses, and at worst, write off as normal and to-be-ignored.
But on that night, when she finally let him stand, they held hands and walked back in a cloud of peace and happiness. They stood against his car, their bodies sheltered from the potential audience inside her family home by a black gate, a bus-to-rv-conversion project, and a line of Italian cypresses.
“I’ll miss you this weekend.” he crooned. She wrapped her arms around his neck a little tighter before pulling back to give him a last quick peck on the lips. She meant to say goodnight then. But instead…
“I love you,” she admitted. She’d been playing with the thought and the words for about a week, especially whenever they parted. But it was too soon. She hadn’t even believed she’d been thinking it. She certainly hadn’t meant to spew out the thought. Had she really said that out loud? Flustered, she attempted to make light of the situation. She smiled and started to back away, but not soon enough.
“I love you, too,” he replied.
“Ok. I’ll call you tomorrow.” She turned and awkwardly staggered toward the gate leading home. He couldn’t see it, but her eyes were wide with silent self-berating.Share