It’s like with every person I meet, I get one step farther away from what I don’t want.
And one step closer to what I know I need.
It’s sweet just like you, the blended confection. It’s punchy and adorable, one of a kind. It makes my heart simultaneously happy and skittish and jumpy.
I realized for the first time, my face actually felt like a hot plate, blood rushing to my cheeks faster than my heart could handle. I decided I didn’t need to relieve my visage of the shy grin I wore–my failure to contain my excitement gave me away anyway.
I love seeing your smile, especially knowing it was because of something I said.
And before I leave, you offer me a drink, the rest of the smoothie you said was “leftover” from the rush. You’ve been here long enough–you’re an assistant manager. That filled up precisely to the brim of the cup, as if you meant to do that.
The smile on your face–that one you gave me when I sincerely thanked you for the drink–boy, did that one give me the chills.
And somehow, by happy accident, that drink happened to be a strawberry banana smoothie, my second favorite.
It fills the air that split second before your laughter can no longer be contained then you let it go when the car stalls for the third and final time that night.
It empties our thoughts just before you flail up your arms exclaiming that I was “doing so good” until that moment happened.
The rush and the elbow-banging excitement intoxicate the both of us. Dares and nostalgia course through our bodies with zeal and zest. Foolishness, for once, takes me by the collar and forces me to drop all pretense and bathe in the insanity.
The engine chokes and clicks and chuckles as I struggle to secure the reins and when it finally falls under my command, it revs and roars with life as I nearly crash us into the fence in third gear, swerving at the last minute and mercilessly tackling a tall speed bump.
You and I both howl with hysteria, with laughter and anxiety, as I cruise to a stop in the middle of the empty lot.
By the end of the evening, we stand by your Jeep and my sedan before we part ways, sealed off by our cars, secluded into our own quiet world reduced to simplicity of Arabian food and pelting stray tomatoes across the parking lot. And nothing else stands between us except dead silence.
Seeing me twice a day on two separate occasions.
Surprising me after running a busy night shift.
Bringing me up from being robbed of my dreams.
Reminding me that they have faith in me–and that they always will.
Helping me forget everything that doesn’t matter.
Thrilling me with daring and danger–two of my closest companions.
Waiting more than an hour just to see me for less than that.
Standing up for me when I couldn’t.
Staying by my side when everyone else abandoned me.
Accepting me as myself and nothing else.
Coaxing a good laugh out of me without trying.
Being crazy and weird simultaneously, because we can.
Offering me a hug when they know I don’t want to admit I need it.
And after a down day like this one, they bring me marshmallow fluff sandwiched between two red-and-green-sprinkled sugar cookies.
And their love.
I still get the chills when I think about you.
You still give me the chills.
I don’t even know if you remember me–I’m probably the only person in the entire world who thinks this much about these things.
I can literally only hope and pray you remember me. Or that I even cross your mind again.
I don’t know if you cut your hair or if you got taller or if you still live where you told me you did.
I don’t know if you think about that time like I do. I don’t know if you’d look at me the same way you did then.
I still remember the feeling I got when I first saw you–or when you first saw me, rather.
I hope that if we cross paths again, you’ll remember me. I’m sure I’ll remember you.
I still remember you saying it, the inflection in your voice, and the feeling I got, just like it wasn’t a couple months ago.
I could only ever dream of being with someone like him.
Just about the only full conversation we had was when I asked him why his family moved around so much. He said he didn’t know.
And within the next year, he was gone, disappeared without a trace.
They say he moved somewhere to northern Georgia. Or he’s back in his hometown in Minnesota.
I wouldn’t know because we lost touch years ago.
I never even got to hug him.
Calling it bittersweet would be the understatement of the century.
Something perfect happens and all I can do is recall the encounter in fond retrospect.
The seasons change and my heart is still trapped in the August summer.
Maybe if I learned the difference between selfless help and selfish sacrifice, I’d find somebody I can genuinely care for.
The bitter aftertaste haunts me much more than the sweetness tantalizes me.
I honestly don’t know how to deal with this.
The absence of his name, the knowledge that he is somewhere else, waking up to the same Sun as me, but with the last thing on his mind being me, it’s unfair.
But being fair is a dream and all I can do is try to convince myself that he is a terrible human being in hopes that I can forget him as easily as what I had for dinner last week.
It’s a hard thing, knowing you have no choice but to simply watch your dreams slip through your fingers, whether or not you had a chance to catch them.
I’ve shed the poor droplets long enough to say I’ve run dry.
Honey pancakes can sweeten up the bitter truth.