“You guys having fun?” my college friend, Jerry asked.
“Yeah.” we both replied in unison. We were both lying.
We were never the kind of people to go to parties, if that was not obvious from the beginning of all this. So instead of socialising with any of Jerry’s drunk, delinquent friends, we sat beside the chip bowl, cooing to his girlfriend’s cat and making snap shot decisions on our opinion of the people around us. Some we presumed we probably drug addicts, some we presumed were probably under age, some we presumed were aliens beamed down for the sole purpose of making young girls feel uncomfortable. But who knows what they really were, all I know is we were awkward. But most importantly, we were awkward together. Which always counts for something.
“I’m sorry for making you come out to this.” I said.
You shrugged me off, “It’s not too bad. He has good snacks anyway.”
His cat, which had a generic name I cannot remember, was curled up in your lap. People had a habit of feeling relaxed around you, which made for good evenings by fireplaces, but awful parties. I was quite the introvert myself, so I didn’t mind surfing through time until we got to go home.
“By the way,” I shouted over the noise, “Did you meet any of my friends?”
“I… Um...” you looked around. I knew you hadn’t left my side all evening, but I wanted you to feel apart of everything in my life, past and present.
“Don’t worry, you don’t need to go meeting new people, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t feel totally isolated.”
“No, well… I know Jerry, and Angela over there is his girlfriend, right?”
“Fiance, okay. And that’s Mark, and Austin, and Samantha.. So yeah, I know a few.”
I pressed my fingers over yours, “Great. I was just checking.”
“I’m fine. Actually, I’m kind of having fun. It’s nice sitting in new places and just chatting with you.” you rested your head on my shoulder, and I laughed.
“I’m shocked he asked us out to his party.”
“It was nice of him.”
“It was, but it’s still odd.”
“Aren’t we just?”
I went to kiss you, but we can’t always live in our cunning, hyperromantic two-person dialogue. A girl a barely knew, but once lived across the hall from my dorm room and who was named Jenny, stumbled over to you and took your hand.
“Don’t get lonely! Let’s dance, babe, come on!” she said, pulling you to your feet to the dismay of both the cat and me.
I went to pull you back to my side, but you laughed and brushed my hands away.
“I’ll be fine! I’ll just have one dance. I’ll be back in a bit.”
I let my hands fall back down, and let the hammered drunk girl with more liters of bleach than actual follicles pull you under the strobing dance lights.
But you loved it. I watched you throw your head back and start jumping to an off time beat, surrounded by welcoming girls you’d never seen before. They introduced themselves one by one, but when you came back you couldn’t repeat a single name. It didn’t matter though, I had never seen you dance like that before. You giggled and mumbled lyrics you didn’t know, and clapped your hands and bopped your head and did all those silly little things that stained my mind’s eye. With the lights sparkling off your skin, and the music fading into your shadow, and your body’s swaying falling into slow motion, you’d think you were only an delusion, if not just a dream. You were always too good to be true.
The cat hopped up into my lap and looked up at my with groggy eyes, and I nodded to it and rubbed its head.
“I know. She’s brilliant, isn’t she?” I asked it, and it yawned before falling asleep again. I suppose it was like showing it a great piece of art, which it mustn’t be able to comprehend. But sometime I forget that every living thing - animals and plants included - doesn’t realise that you’re as beautiful as the sun that shines. It’s easy to forget you’re not a universal language.
You came back, panting, with your baby hairs sticking to your forehead already. You took my hand, and lead me to the center of the dance floor.
“Let’s go, old man. You’re going to dance with me.”
Sometimes, when I was with you, I felt like I was falling into a dream.
We fell onto my couch, and laughed about the air until sleep drifted onto us. We were tipsy and tired of dancing, but our hearts were beating in a way that only the common life can give. Sometimes falling off the page that was our pretentious, poetic life gave us a rush we couldn’t even sleep off. But our eyes still shut once your head fell on my shoulder again, and my neck against the back of the sofa.
“Hey, do you wanna know something?” you asked. You were so close to sleep your words sounded like they were coming out of cotton wool, in that charming, fatigued way. If you weren’t already nodding off I would have stayed up with you for hours listening to you talk like that. Speaking like the man on the moon, but with your lips right by my ear.
“Yes I do.” I muttered back.
“I had fun tonight.”
“Well, I’m glad. You get stressed sometimes. I was glad to see you so happy and free and all that.”
“I just care for you, is all.”
You kissed my cheek, “I’m okay. Don’t worry about me.”
“But I do.”
You kissed my other cheek, “I care about you too. I care about you like the little birds care about the diamond mountains. I care about you like the rivers care about the oceans. I care about you like the stars in the sky care about the points on the page. I care about you so much, but I’m still afraid.”
“Why? I’ll always care for you.”
“But I think…” you took a deep breath, “I feel like I won’t be good for you. Like I’ll end up messing everything up.”
“Shhh… You can’t.”
“I’m serious, what if I am-”
“You can’t mess us up.”
“Shhh,” I pulled you into me again, and you let out a long breath I hadn’t realised you’d been holding. “I care for you more than Romeo cares for Juliet. More than Gomez cares for Morticia. More than… I don’t know. But I love you.”
When my heart stopped beating, I’d realised I had never told you I loved you before.
You kissed me again, and I felt the same hairpin curve of your smile and the same warmth of your fingers against my cool cheek, but this time I could confess that I was madly in love with each one of your movements that you hadn’t yet realised I was enthralled with.
“I love you too.” you said in your cloud-filled voice, as we finally fell asleep.