Saturday, November 19, 2005
The End of What if
Two-weeks before meeting my husband, I was lying on the top-bunk in a frat house pressed between a wall and What-if. It started as two old friends, staying up late talking and drinking. Reminiscing in the fuzzy glow of a nineteen-inch television, muted on some late night talk show.

What-if and I sat; knees touching, on a lumpy and sheet-covered loveseat. He drank beer that I bought him. His unkempt roommate wandered between us throughout the night, nodding as he'd pass on his way to the mini-fridge, and then again on his way back out into the noisy hall.

As the night stretched on, What-if and I both knew that the subway was going to stop running and I'd have to spend the night, but neither of us mentioned it. We kept talking and drinking, slowly sinking together into the couch until my head was on his thin chest and our legs intertwined. Finally, we squeezed together on his twin-sized bed. He carefully slid his arm around my waist and tipped his head down, gently putting his forehead against mine, questioningly, as though asking, is this ok?

And then he kissed me.

I can't believe I'm kissing Mella. He whispered. I was flattered; he said it as though he was doing something other boy's only dreamt of. But, looking back, I know that wasn't how he meant it - because I was thinking the same thing. I can't believe I'm kissing What if...

It was all completely innocent. Clothes stayed on. Hands stayed put. It wasn't romantic, it was curious. It was years of friendship finally pushing past flirtation.

And, in the morning, What-if was gone. I woke up beside the boy who used to slide his foot over mine beneath the table and who used to strum the first few notes of Today on his guitar just to make me smile. In the sunlight, he was the same scruffy, tee shirt wearing, flirtatious friend of my adolescence.

We walked quietly to the subway and at the turnstile, he shyly kissed me goodbye. We stood silently for a moment afterward, sharing a knowing smile.

And then I rode the T home, alone.

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Blogger LJ said...

It's nice to be reminded of that stage where vulnerability isn't wearing such heavy armor.

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