1. We were on the couch of your old dorm room and sharing a tray of chow mein and egg rolls with the sweet & sour sauce. There wasn’t enough time for much else to happen, our thoughts, hands, and emotions constrained by that hazy hour. We both had places to be, we were headed in different places indefinitely. We were too young and too closed off to share our fears but repaired the holes with adventure and silly moments and unbridled attraction. We digested our worries about graduating on the couch, quietly kissing in between modest bites (or was it modestly kissing in between quiet bites?), me in my little black dress and you in your baseball cap and tee.
Finally after a long lull, you took a moment to rub my back lightly, stare at me and then say, “Someday when I’m 80 years old, I’m going to look back on today, and remember ‘this’…”, motioning to only me, not him and I as a unit. I didn’t ask what you meant then. I didn’t question that we both knew despite several years of back and forth that this wasn’t going to last. I sealed the moment with a light giggle. Your voice trailed off, over and over again, but drew me back so many times. I wanted more, but allowed that hazy hour to swallow us whole.
2. Our first kiss was in your car. You were older than me, smooth, strong-minded, and sarcastic; the kind of man who demanded a confident woman, but dated sophisticated, uncertain girls instead. I was a young-minded, apprehensive dreamer who played with my hair when I was nervous. Whenever I looked into your eyes, they were forget-me-not’s, never quite the electric blue’s that they were in photographs.
You tried to hold my hand first before kissing me, but I turned it into a choreographed, secret friendship handshake and you knew then that you had a “girl” on your hands. We kissed and I blushed and you told me once that I really hit a sweet spot for you. You’re still the best first kisser I’ve maybe have ever had, even though you forever remained a far away, caged distraction.
3. We were friends who spoke about other people, but never about each other. I left a turkey avocado sandwich with an unsigned card reading “SORRY ABOUT THE HICKEY” on your doorstep. You gave me a onesie and often surprised me with my favorite cornbread cranberry muffins. Harmony was an impossibility. There were so many other people you cared about more. I slapped you out of anger and passion; one of the times it was deserved, the other time it was requested. That’s (not) love. You’re a whispered ghost now, but I still think about you sometimes, when nostalgia strikes me.
4. We made a transaction. There was an expiration date on the product we decided to invest in after a rather long talk on the grass as we avoided eye contact, picking at the weeds and salvaging the daisies. The product was romantic companionship. You used intoxicating phrases like “kindred spirits” and possessed a mindfulness and empathy that I haven’t seen in anyone else- qualities that you can’t easily find in a store, in a product with an expiration date. I could easily bottle up and preserve these qualities forever. You were a crush and you still are in a very different impossible way now, and you know to tread lightly and politely if our paths were to intersect again, as friends.
5. You taught me that a date wasn’t a good date unless it unraveled spontaneously. That it was okay to wait for things that are worth it. You have the biggest heart in the world and I hope that you find what you’re looking for in someone else.
6. When in Sorrento, as they say. It was brief, it was beautiful, we walked the cobblestone roads at night, and swam in the ocean until sunrise. We spoke different languages, but filled in the blank spaces with undeniable chemistry.
7. And you. The one that awaits me: you’ll be my favorite reason to lose sleep.