Your left hand drapes over the steering wheel and I can see your eyelashes to their full length as you stare at the road ahead. I like that you sneak glances at me every time I start to hum along to whatever comes through the speakers. I look at you and we both shyly smile.
“This is good,” I think to myself.
I love holding your hand and that you reached for mine. But you don’t know that I love holding hands for so many reasons. For comfort and security. Because it’s such a caring and innocent gesture. I want to hold your hand in public. I want to lace my fingers with yours and have the ends touch your knuckles with enough closeness that our forearms touch too. I want it to be familiar, but with a never-ending curiosity. I love holding your hand because it offers comfort and security, but it’s fleeting. I want what I know I can’t have: an eternal summer.
You let go of my hand as you turn off the ignition. The digital time glows as it reads 10:13 but the sun has nodded off only in the slightest. This time, I reach for your hand as we start to walk towards the sand. Before I do, I take a second to take you in. I like that your tan arm flexes just a little as you reach to grab the blanket in the backseat and the wine right next to it. I like that you bought the bottle because you said you thought it would be something I would like. Your hair is short, but enough to grab fistfuls of, like the first night we kissed.
I think about kissing you. Now especially. I try to be patient and coy, so I keep my desire a secret. But I do think about that first night. Neither one of us planned to kiss each other or even knew that we would be at the same party. Then again, in our small town, we were bound to run in the same circles eventually. We didn’t talk to each other at first. I walked down the stairs into the crowded, carpeted room with sober thoughts that grasped each moment. A few hours changed all that, with fizzy booze and exuberant conversation. You took steps closer to me and I started to count my heartbeats. I giggled at your cute smile and I could tell you were nervous to touch the small of my back. Talking and talking and hours and hours. Some of which I don’t remember, some of which I do. As we were sitting and facing each other, you put your hand on my knee as my hand felt your chest, then shoulder. Your touch moved upwards to my chin, my cheek, my hair.
I hold the wine and you hold the blanket and after we lay on the sand, we hold each other. There are those moments, when you look up to the sky with a beautiful boy to your left and wish that, as cliché as it seems, that the moment could last forever. I never want to spend a day without my head on your chest feeling it rise and fall. You look down at me and ask, “What are you thinking about?”
I take my time to answer. Being a teenage girl, the correct response is, “What am I not thinking about?” But I don’t want to be correct. I don’t want to be right. I want to be real and say what’s on my mind. I want to tell you that I’m trying not to cry because I know I don’t want long distance with you. I don’t want long distance but I can’t picture the next few months without you in it. I want to tell you that I’ve been falling in love with you. I want to tell you that I know you can only be my summer fling. And that makes me want to fall out of love with you. So instead, I kiss you. That’s the only thing I can do to dissolve my thoughts and be in this moment with you.
But you pull away after only minutes. You look into my eyes, at all the parts of my face. This is why I want you to be more than my boy for three months. Because the way you look at me makes me forget that I know it won’t work if we try to stay together. It will be busy and messy. We’re both going back to school, to opposite lives than what we live now. I look back at you with the attempt at the same expression that you are giving me.
Our relationship was built on attraction and passion. I was intrigued by whom everyone knew you as, so I could see for myself. Except, I got to know someone new. I got to see your uniqueness and the simple things that nobody else could possibly know in our summer. But I never wanted to know your favorite songs. I didn’t want to talk about where I went to school or where you went. I didn’t want intimacy; I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to wear your t-shirts after long nights when I was too tired to drive home (or so said the excuse I told my parents in order to let me stay with you.) I wanted to kiss you and be kissed by you. And that’s why you’ll be my summer fling.
I want to remain mysterious to you. Whether or not you want to get to know all the parts about me, I won’t let you. You know I have my walls built up. You know a lot, more than most, and that’s big in itself. I was vulnerable with you for company, but secretive for protection because I know it won’t last after these three months.
It’s me in my own way. I want to let you in and be with you for more than this short time. Except that you have always been almost mine. Less than a boyfriend, more than a guy at a party. I’m selfish and I think about my feelings and that’s why you’ll be my summer fling.
You made me realize how I should never discount a day. In a day, at a party, on a beach or in the car, my summer transformed. Only a fraction of my lifetime, but without the night we were first together, I wouldn’t be the same me. I wouldn’t appreciate the sun going down on another day well spent as my life is intertwined with yours. I wouldn’t look up to the sky grateful for moments I want to keep forever.
So, we go on. Laying here. Looking at each other, looking at the sky, feeling the sand, and feeling emotions. We never completely expose our true thoughts to each other and that’s why you’ll be my summer fling. We would rather live in this moment, fill it with happiness and youth and passion and excitement. And that’s why you’ll remain the boy in my fading and memorable summer.