“Look at how much territory the French owned,” you tip the computer toward me, a Wikipedia map taking up half the screen and the other half a study sheet with what looks like 9-point font.
“Oh wow,” I say, squinting, resting my head on your shoulder, “are they the blue?” I never was good at history but you love it so much and you always get quiet when you talk about it, you take it so seriously and I feel like I don’t know nearly enough to have a conversation about it. You chuckle, respond with a head nod and an eye roll. “Didn’t they do the Louisiana Purchase and stuff?” I ask, racking my brain for something smart to say. You shrug, my head moving with your shoulders but I don’t move.
It’s love in the time of finals, and we are killing each other. We are still freshmen in college, fucking up all of our relationships and it’s a miracle our friendship has stayed this strong. But we’ve reached this point. You still call me bro, and I’ll always call you dude, but how do I tell you I love you? Can’t you tell that while we’re studying together all I’m thinking about is resting my ear against your chest? I am dying to hear your heartbeat; I am dying to hear your secrets that you can’t say out loud. Instead I settle for talking about the French even though I know nothing about them. I settle for you resting your hand on my knee for less than a second to tell me to stop procrastinating.
It’s love in the time of finals and we have waited all year for this. We drank away the winter together, and in the spring we drifted apart. Never too much, but just enough to make us realize what we had been missing. Your phone calls when I to be up at 4am the next day were tragic, I wanted to be with you so badly but I didn’t realize I wanted to be with you in that way until a week ago. Reading days started and you said you missed me to my face. And looking you in the eyes I told you I missed you more. You’ve started texting me good night. I wait for those texts some of these nights when I’m up endlessly writing papers and reading. So much reading.
It’s love in the time of finals and the worst part is that it ends in less than 12 hours. You go back to Ohio, and me to Brooklyn, and we try so damn hard to stay in touch this summer. But I’ll be in Vermont for so long, no phone service or computer. If I ask, will you write me letters? Or will you just nod your head and roll your eyes because I don’t know shit about the Louisiana Purchase and you don’t know how to write a letter to me to save your life. We’ll see I guess. I realized I loved you during finals week of my freshman year, and now I wait out the deadend feeling that summer brings.