I still remember it, and it feels distant, but I can conjure up that exact image of your face that night, and the look you gave me. The look that made me not want to leave you. The look that excited and scared me all at the same time.
We ended up outside our friend’s house at the exact same time. I can’t remember if it was a mistake, or if we’d left together on purpose. But we were standing outside waiting for our friends. We weren’t sure if they’d be a few minutes or hours, and I think we both wanted them to take as much time as they pleased, so we could have a few more minutes together. Alone. Away from all the people who connected us, and all the people who knew us too well, and all the people who would tell us that allowing anything to happen between us was a bad idea.
We stood outside in the May heat. I can’t remember what we even said to each other. I just knew, in that moment, that I’d miss you when we both moved away for the summer. Whatever we said to each other, they were empty words, and beneath them, I tried to say I’d miss you. You tried to say that we had grown closer than you had ever imagined we could. I tried to say that I wished something had happened between us, even though I didn’t know where it would go. Even though, I had to admit, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. But I knew I felt something for you, as we stood outside and talked in hushed tones, allowing our eyes to wander over each other, as if contemplating going for it, but never being brave enough to.
Finally, what seemed like an hour later, you stepped closer to me. Your arms were wrapped around something — a binder, or tennis shoes, I can’t even remember what. But you put down what you were holding and scooped me up instead and held me.
I tried to pull away after a minute, not even because I wanted to – I didn’t – but because I figured that’s what I was supposed to do as your “friend” and nothing more. But you didn’t. You stayed and pulled me back in closer, and I knew that was where I wanted to be, so I gave into it.
I stayed, nestled in your arms, until I finally had the courage to look up. I tilted my head upward, and was surprised when you met my gaze and held it. You didn’t hesitate at all, just gazed into my eyes, waiting for me to lean up, as I waited for you to lean down.
We stayed locked, until finally, our friends came out, and we drew away from each other, pretending we hadn’t felt what we did. I guess I’m glad that we’ve always stayed “just friends,” but it’s been forever since that night, and I still think about it. I wish one of us had gone for it.