Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fiction Friday!

It's a Fiction Friday if I want it to be Fiction Friday.  Don't mess with me.

It was late June when I drove with Rachel out of town, to a field somewhere. We hadn't seen each other in a long time, too long, but we had talked. We had talked a lot. We never talked about anything that really mattered.
I parked the car at the side of the road. We got out and laid down in the grass without saying a word. Side by side, we looked at the stars for a while, not needing words to muddle what was going on between us.
Finally, I spoke. “Rachel, you know that I like you.” I turned my head and saw her nod in the moonlight, “I really like you. And I care about you. I want to spend time with you.” Those were all things that she had heard me say before, more or less. They were things that I assumed were true for her too. I hoped they were true. I hoped that I wasn't inventing all of our relationship. Not that we had a relationship. Not that we had much of anything. “I just want you to know how I feel about you.” This was supposed to be freeing or something. It did not feel freeing. It just felt terrifying, this dead space there was, between us. Full of questions. Suddenly, it felt like this was not a good choice, it felt like I had done all the wrong things and said all the wrong things and I was scared. I wanted to go home and curl up in my bed and never leave again.
She reached toward my side and grabbed my hand. I was okay again, in seconds. I didn't say anything else. We just stared up at the stars, dreaming and wishing.
“Do you know what I think of when I look at the stars?” Rachel posed non-questions like that often.
“What do you think of?”
“I think of the future. I think of the past too. I think of myself, a lot. And I think of you. I think of everyone else. I think of interconnectedness and loneliness.”
She always said things like that, in that way that made everyone around her question if she was deep and thoughtful, or if she was just full of shit. No one was ever sure, but that night, I was erring on the side of depth. This wasn't the time when she would joke.
“I think about you a lot. I hope you,” She paused. Holding her breath for a moment. “I hope you realize that.”
“I had hoped that you did.” I replied too fast.
She chuckled, and I heard her moving, on the grass. She moved closer to me, her face above mine, blonde hair brushing my face. “I like you. I like you a lot. I like you as more than friends.”
“I feel the same way about you.”
“That makes me very, very happy.” She kissed me, and touched my hip, in that little strip of exposed skin between my pants and shirt. My heart, for lack of better term, fluttered. She rolled onto her back, closer to me this time. Our sides touching, two layers between our skin.
We were quiet again, staring at the stars and contemplating our interconnectedness and whatever else she had talked about. She was perfect. I loved her. I loved her. I loved her so freeking much. I loved her in the way that a person who had never been hurt can love. I had no idea how to say that. I had feelings, but I didn't know how to express that. I didn't want to express that. I didn't want to put myself out there.
“I”
She glanced at my face again before I spoke. “What?”
“Nothing.” When you put yourself out there, you get hurt. I didn't want any of that.
“No, what is it?”
“It's nothing. I just like this. Being here, being with you.”
“I like it too.” We were quiet again, giving me the space to imagine us. I wanted an us. I wanted to hold her hand and walk down the sidewalk together. I wanted more, more than talking to her late at night. I wanted more than on and off conversation. I wanted a relationship, and all the little couple benefits that it could come with. There was a reason why we were here. There was a reason. There was something I wanted to tell her.
“I'm really concerned about college.”
Rachel was not thinking about the same thing that I was thinking of. “Oh. Why are you so concerned?”
“Because I need to get in. I need to get into a college that's good.”
“I think you'll get in. You have everything going for you. You're going to do fine.”
“Maybe. I don't know. I'm just really worried about it.”
“You'll be okay.”
“I hope so.”
“I believe you'll be okay.” She was so insecure, sometimes. She would be fine, we both knew it deep down.
“We should probably go home.” She sat up, arms straight out behind her, hands on the grass. There was a slight arch to her back, not quite like anyone else. I liked the way my arm fit right there, we belonged like that. She stood up.
I was still lying on the ground. It was now or never. I stood up, brushing bits of grass and dirt off of my back. “Rachel.” I held both of her hands. “There's a reason why I brought you out here. I want us to be something more.” She opened her mouth and I kept talking. “I love you, Rachel. And I know that you might not love me back, and I know that there's a reason why we aren't in a relationship. You don't want to be seen with me, you don't want to be known as my girlfriend. You're ashamed, you want to be with someone who other people like more. I know there's a reason, there's something. I don't care about it. All I want is you. You're my eleven-eleven, you're who I wish for when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake. I love you.”
She stared at me. She stared at me for too long. I had said that too much, too crazy. I sounded like I was too into her. There was an imbalance. No one wants an imbalance. It's weird and it's awkward.
She pulled her hands away from mine. Tilting her head to the side, she asked “Is that really how you feel?” She said it so slowly, like she was talking to someone who didn't speak the same language as she did.
“Yes. That's how I feel.”
“Oh.”
“We should probably go now.”
“Yes.” We walked to the car. I drove home, not speaking, not looking at her, trying to avoid thinking. I would have turned the radio on, but I was positive that the first song we'd hear would be something horribly love-related.
I got to her house, after years of driving. “Bye, I guess.”
“Yeah. Bye. I'll um, see you around.” She got out of the car, walked to the side door, and let herself in, taking care to shut the door as quietly as possible.


1 Fab Fans:

LittleTree said...

sam . . . what is "I's" name . . . loved the story, and yes . . . expression is risky . . . and hurt is real. I really loved it . . . peace