Please enjoy this post where I tell you a story about an event from my life. Nothing more, nothing less. Today’s story: A storm that changed my life.
I’m 16 and I love you.
I just met you (a few months ago) and I love you. You are the stars in my sky and the entire world beneath my feet. I am filled to brim with hyperbole or what I (even then) think is hyperbole. I don’t know that this is the only way I know how to love people because you’re only the second person I have ever loved this way who stayed. I don’t know this isn’t really special. That you’re really just another supernova in a line of supernovas, all of whose violent ends change the very fabric of my universe.
Instead I think I am 16 and too full of hormones to regulate my feelings.
Instead I think you are so beautiful that your attention makes me feel like I might actually be beautiful too.
It’s a typical summer day. The three of us walk aimlessly through the neighborhood but the summer heat licks up at us off the pavement, growing hotter with each step. The tar smell is overwhelming after just an hour and we’re practically being beckoned into the sweet smelling, shade-filled woods that are behind the house. We go meandering through the trees, simply enjoying the feeling of being at peace with nature. Our soft, rhythmic footfalls weigh heavy on the path. A breeze blows through making the treetops dance above us.
It feels so easy like this. It’s you and me and him. And it’s complicated but really simple. I love you and you love him and you love me too but sometimes also you love her (and everyone else). I know you love him first though and he’s my friend so I am trying not to love you. I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m 16. I don’t know what I’m doing because none of us ever know what we’re doing. I don’t know what I’m doing because love makes me want and want and want. But we can’t have this so instead we’re walking through the forest as three separate humans holding hands when the sky opens up.
It feels like relief, a sigh cutting through the tension of the heat and sun. The rain is a cascade of warm droplets, growing in intensity over a few minutes from a friendly summer shower to a full roaring storm. His hair seems to stand on end when the first ripple of thunder hits followed hot on its heels by a brilliant streak of light across the sky. The second crack of thunder has him pulling his hands away from you and me. I look up at the sky, realizing that I’m going to be soaked through by the time we get home, but I’m not afraid of storms. And neither are you. You love it. You scream and you wave your arms and woop triumphantly at the sky. You shout at the top of your lungs and you tip your head back to catch water in your mouth.
You tear off down the path away from us, deeper into the woods, as the sky starts to furiously darken in phases. The sky winks through colors: blue to navy to angry purple and finally settling on a grey just a shade shy of black. We run after you, as if we could hold you down. We’re barely fool enough to try. Instead when you finally stop, you tear your drenched shirt off and laugh like a maniac. You look free and wild. You look utterly transcendent. You lean in and kiss him fully on the lips. Tearing yourself away from him, you then lean in like you’re about to kiss me too but instead you just give me a smile. It’s tinged with a 1000 watt glow full of a joy I don’t know how to experience. The rain runs down your face, your hair sticking to the corners of your eyes, like tear tracks. Water leaks from my eyes too.
We get back to the house eventually. The sky is completely dark by then and I feel like I am carrying 10lbs of rainwater into the house with me. I feel weighed down and guilty as we plod our sloppy, dripping selves across the living room to get towels and dry clothing. We order dinner, we light a fire in the fireplace , we watch a movie, and we eat a chocolate bunny together. We wrap ourselves in a fluffy blanket and from the outside we must look like a very strange three headed animal. All of its head somehow moving independently despite their union.
The movie prattles on but my mind is fixed on the memory of your smile. The closeness of your body. The warmth of your voice drowning out the pattering of the rain. Eventually we find ourselves drifting slowly asleep, full of the days adventures.
The bed is big enough for all three of us, mercifully soft and wide. He’s on the inside, pressed against the wall and like usual you’re the glue that holds us together. He and I used to be closer but you’re a wedge between us. I don’t really mind. I’m on the outside edge. I can throw my feet on the floor and walk away from this at any moment but instead I lay dead still in the darkness, letting the warmth and breathing of two people lull me into false security. For good measure, I squeeze my eyes closed and pretend I am asleep.
By the time he’s completely asleep, it’s clear to me that you’re not. You fidget restlessly, your toes curling and uncurling, your hands carding through your hair. Flipping your body between us as if we’re rolling you like a log. As if we’re filling you with questions and indecision of which side to turn to. I give up my ruse and we turn to face each other.
I can barely see you, a flicker of light from the window illuminating just the shape your face, the edges your hair, and a sliver of your side but I know exactly how you look. How your eyes are deep and dark and how your mouth is curved softly downwards the way it is when you think no one can see you. We often talk for hours on the phone and you write 3000 word letters to me but somehow face to face we hardly ever say anything. Instead you move closer. Instead you put you hand on my face. Instead a noise catches in your throat like you’re about to cry.
When you finally do speak it’s just a whisper in the dark. I barely think I hear you.
“Will you come with me on an adventure?”
It seems too ridiculous that you would even have to ask. I bring my hand up to cover yours. Yes. Always yes. Forever yes. I try to tell you with my touch and my smile and my tears but it’s too dark. Too dark to see and too dark to know. In the future you’ll tell me how much you always wanted to kiss me at this moment and how you love me and that you know and understand why I did it. You’ll say you forgive me and you would have done the same. You and I both know that you’re a liar. Just like me.
You don’t say anything else so instead, you leave your hand on my cheek and we pretend to fall asleep.