I hear the notification and feel a flutter in my chest. Pick up my phone and smile as I see your name, bite down on my lip as I read the message.
I let my eyes scan over it two or three times before even thinking of a reply. Before letting it sink in that you’re talking to me, that you’re waiting to hear back from me. That you’re existing somewhere in this achingly confusing world and will soon see my name pop up on your phone — or maybe you have me listed with a nickname with an emoji sitting to the side. I wonder if that name gives you the same stutter in your stomach, the same airiness in your limbs.
I hesitate before texting you back. It’s not that our conversation are strained. They’re not. They flow freely. I feel comfortable, at ease, the words slip smoothly from my lips when we’re looking eye-to-eye.
But when my fingertips are doing the talking, I have time to think. Other words spring to mind. Dangerous words. About how damn cute you are. About how I wish we were kissing. About how badly I want to push you onto my bed and breathe in the scent of you.
But those aren’t the words I say. I censor myself, only slightly. Enough to avoid looking desperate, but I still keep things flirty. I still hint at my interest.
And I’m still smiling as I press down on the screen to create my reply, the type of smile that I don’t even realize I’m making until my mother or sister or roommate cocks their head at me and asks what’s so funny. Why I’m so happy. Who’s the boy?
But they know who the boy is. You’re the only boy. There’s only you.
When the darkness falls and my eyelids sink, I bring my phone to bed with me. I plug it into the closest outlet, one that requires me to pull out lamp and clock and fan plugs, just so I can rest my phone on the bed. So I can easily reply if you message back before sleep overwhelms me.
And the next morning, when I reach for my phone to check the time, I’m not really checking the time. I’m seeing if you sent me any morning messages, but I won’t let myself admit that. No. I’ll pretend like I’m not waiting for you, like I’m not subconsciously obsessing over you.
I don’t need your attention. I don’t need you to text me.
Until you do. Then I’ll let out the breath I didn’t realize was trapped inside my lungs. Let my muscles loosen. Let myself bask in the happiness.
Texting you is the best part of my everyday. And it may be selfish, but I can’t wait until the best part is whispering, cheek-to-cheek, as we’re cuddling in bed together.