They both didn’t seem very good at hooking up with strangers. He was tan, tall, dark haired, and handsome. She was tall and thin, skin bronze from the summer sun, and when she stepped in the moonlight to walk up to his front porch she looked like a gracious heroine of our favorite stories. And he knew it. He could feel the different kind of energy around her. A genuineness that cannot be faked, the kind he wasn’t used to being around. She laughed wholly, talked wholly, felt wholly. She was whole, yet felt she needed him to be whole. He was the quiet, stoic type so that, when he did laugh—which she certainly made him—it sounded and looked more beautiful than any other.
He was beautiful and so was she, with young flawless faces and fit bodies that could only melt into something cosmic. They were wrapped together in white sheets on a rainy, grey afternoon in June (but white light still shined through the cozy beach house with cabled carpet). It was awkward, it was their first time with each other. The ceiling fan was going and there was no music. When they stopped he sat up on the bed, back against the bed header, and she, with her long dark hair draped onto her bare back, lied on her stomach, arms stacked on top of one another as a cushion to rest her chin.
And it was then that began the sensuality that should’ve been in the sex—the connection, the integration, the sharing.
In those innocent yet intimate positions, bare skin showing like all moments after sex, they began to talk. They began to talk like friends, like they weren’t just strangers that met through a dating app. They could no longer see each other as just a body after that; they knew the other person contained a story—a body that coursed passions, secrets, love, potential, and a past.
The act of talking was, perhaps, the real hook up. Not the sex. The sex was superficial.
With every playful tease she made he felt himself warm up to her presence. He liked the way her eyes squinted when she smiled wholly, how she would cock her head to the side when she was being coy, how she would say and ask whatever was on her mind even if they did seem a bit too intrusive for people who just met. ‘Could this be a girl I could see myself with?’ is something he wondered. She often wondered the same thing about him, too.
They lied there and she didn’t want it to end. Time seemed to stop when she was with him and he was always the one to pull out—to snap back to reality, to stay grounded, to never let the conversation linger for too long or venture more than it should; there was always some place to be—his sister’s birthday dinner, work, home because he was drunk and tired or high and tired. He made sure these conversations never ventured too far not because he didn’t have the capacity to understand and think deeply, but because he couldn’t show that part to her, knowing she’d eventually leave him. He knew better than to mess with a girl with a future. A girl with bigger than life plans and a glow in her eyes that he knew meant she’d only outgrow him in time.
He knew her as the girl from the summer. The girl who made him a mixtape, told him he was handsome, wanted so desperately to be loved by him. The girl, who actually seemed to care about him and really like his bulldog. The girl, who hardly wore any makeup which he just really digged. The girl who wrote. The girl who wanted to fall in love but was looking in the wrong places. The girl, who he got lucky with in the summer of ’15 when he was young and dumb, unknowingly letting go of one of the most gentle humans he’ll ever encounter in his life.
The girl who asked what his tattoos meant and what he aspired to be (he said maybe a firefighter), who he saw gazing a little too long during that car ride home, the girl who reminded him of the one that left him exactly one year ago for college. Just like how he knew this girl would, too.