“I want to watch the stars”
“Then let’s go,” she said as she took the blanket off the couch, and stood with a grace and confidence I will always envy.
“I hate you.”
She smiled. That horrible smile. The smile that made me fall in love every time.
“Trusting people is a waste,” she said. “You can only be hurt by people you trust, and part of life is getting hurt. So then what? If it’s inevitable that people will betray you, hurt you, make you sad, what’s the point of trusting people?”
Another thing to hate about her. She was so innocently broken. By who, I don’t know. But I knew I wanted to punch him. Hate him. Make sure he never felt the happiness that he took from her. And I told her that. More than once.
I cut her off as she went on.
“So what?!” I said.
“If you keep thinking like that you will never be happy. Just be happy now. Just love the friends you have. Part of life is being sad, part of life is getting hurt. Once you accept that then you can truly be happy. Stop being scared”
I could tell I said it aggressively. I tried so many times to convince her, I wanted her to trust me more than anything.
But I think I needed to say it the way I did. The way I sat up a little bit and looked her in the eyes and the passion I spoke with. I think I got through to her. I think I convinced her that she’s being ridiculous.
“I want to trust people. But I know my worth and the sad thing is most people just don’t” she confessed.
She’s not being ridiculous. I just need her to believe she is. She’s right of course. Most people are awful, and they don’t deserve a second of her time. I know I don’t.
“Well, I think you’re worth a lot.”
Bet that convinced her.
“I know you do,” she whispered.
I could tell she was getting tired. I held her closer.
It was approaching 3 am. Too late to make sense, but a perfect time to say ‘screw it’. You love her and you know it. Show her.
She didn’t want that though.
Still, it was 3 am.
I couldn’t believe what I said next. “I don’t know how you fall in love…” what was I doing, “but this is how I do.”
I already told myself that if she ran from me I wouldn’t be surprised. I already told her things she should have run from. But she hadn’t yet. I couldn’t stand myself for saying that cheesy line, or for waiting this long to. But I also couldn’t stand to lay under the infinite sky with an infinitely beautiful girl and talk about everything and feel her heartbeat and listen to her voice and enjoy her perfect presence and not show her how I felt.
“Stop,” she said. She pressed her face into my chest and then turned away.
“You’re right,” and she said my name. Like everything about her I simultaneously hated and loved the way she said my name. And she said it often. As if when she spoke to me she wanted to make sure I knew it was me she was talking to.
She put her arms around me again.
“We shouldn’t be doing this,” she whispered.
Her face was dangerously close.
“I have this constant struggle,” I told her. “I always regret not doing things sooner.”
“No,” she said my name again. “If you’re talking about kissing me I’m not ready.”
It’s what brought up the topic of trust earlier. She’s scared of giving her heart to me.
“But you’re right,”
my name again.
“Laying under the stars with you like this isn’t helping”
It was quiet.
“I really like talking with you” her voice was soft and patient. She was so damn patient.
It was quiet.
I felt her breath on my lips. It wasn’t the first time, but I couldn’t let her get away again. I wanted to respect her feelings. I didn’t want to force anything she didn’t want. But I loved her. And how can you love someone and not show it? I was driving myself crazy.
We could go weeks without seeing each other. She lived on the other side of campus and had different friends and liked to be independent. But the few nights we spent alone, the few times we went one-on-one and got to know each other far too well, those were the nights I looked forward to. This was one of those rare occasions.
“I think we should go inside,” I needed to get away before I did something stupid.
“I don’t want to,”
She was so beautifully confusing.
I hate her. I hate her for opening up to me that night. I hate her for showing me the beautiful parts of herself that she often hides. I hate that she is the perfect height and gives good hugs and has a beautiful smile. I hate that she doesn’t wear makeup and looks prettier than all the girls that do. I hate that she’s one of my best friends and worst enemies. I hate that she always smells good and appreciates the stars. I hate the way she calls me out for being stupid and oblivious. I hate that she likes good movies, and loves music, and calls me at 2 am just because. I hate it. I hate her.
But she was out here with me. When the movie ended and everyone else went to sleep she was out here with me. She led me out here. I planned to be alone but she knew I didn’t want that. Those words “then let’s go.” They haunt me even now.
“I hate you”
“I hate you too,” she smiled.
“I’m sorry I’m so confusing,” she added.
“No. No, you’re not,” I assured her. I wanted to assure her of everything. That everything would work out, even if it didn’t. That her worth was infinite and I knew it. That she could trust me. I wanted her trust with everything inside of me. But she kept reminding me that I couldn’t have it.
In my mind, it lasted an eternity. I told her I was sorry out loud and ‘screw it’ in my mind. She didn’t turn away. She didn’t sigh and say “I can’t”. She didn’t whisper my name and turn her head like usual. This time she gave in.
Our lips fit perfectly together like our hands did. Hers were soft and gentle and sweet. I didn’t have to think for what felt like forever but lasted only seconds. I tasted her innocence, her love, her beauty. Somehow it was better than I could have dreamed. Our lips were chapped and our experience was limited, but it was perfect. I forgot for a minute all of it. It was like the starry sky surrounded us and we were no longer on the hard concrete in the freezing cold. It was just her and I and the sky. Our sleeping friends and looming responsibilities and inevitable fears were no more. Just her and I and the sky.
Now it haunts me like I knew it would. I think about her constantly, somehow more than I already did. Now I know what it feels like to kiss her. To taste her love. I would give anything to relive that night. We shouldn’t have gone inside. We should have stayed until morning and enjoyed the sunrise, then gone to sleep while everyone else enjoyed the sunshine, so we could keep the stars to ourselves. I always wish I did things differently.
She changes in the daylight. It’s like her vulnerability gets eaten up by her desire to appear fine. She’s independent and reserved when she’s around other people, but when the stars come out and it’s just her and I and the sky… she shows me something beautiful.
It was a new moon that night. How lucky. We could see the sky as clearly as it comes because the moon was absent.