september 17th 2019

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1. september 17th 2019

September 17th, 2019

 

It took a few moments for me to catch my breath and actually reach for the door handle. My stomach was erupting in nervous butterflies as I attempted to conceal my anxiety. I hadn’t seen him since before it happened. I could’ve sworn I would cry, have a heart attack, or both. I reached for the handle again, but didn’t even touch it before pulling away. I couldn’t understand why this was so difficult. I mean I knew why, but these “at the door” scenes usually only happened in movies. 

 

I twisted the handle and pushed the door open. I was engulfed with the familiar scent and cool air of his house. His dog greeted me right away and I heard his dad say hello to me. We talked for a few minutes before he informed me that Eric was in the shower and would be down soon. 

 

When I heard him walk out of the bathroom, I tried not to look up the stairs and wait for him to look and acknowledge me. When he was all changed and everything, he walked down the stairs. “Hey.” He said, then hugged me. I held on tighter than I should’ve, I didn’t want to let go. But eventually I had to. “I got you a pink lemonade.” I tell him, as I hand him the can. He seemed really happy about it. 

 

We sat for a little bit with some small talk, and it felt weird not sitting close next to him in the recliner. Instead I was sitting at the opposite end of the couch. My hands were very fidgety. He touched my hand for a quick moment as an attempt to calm me down. I think for a moment he forgot touching my hand wasn’t a normal thing anymore.  I jumped at the touch, almost scared. I didn’t really realize what he was doing. 

 

After a while he said, “Have you seen the new radio in my truck?” He asked, I said no. He grabbed his keys and we went outside for him to show me. He still had the keychain I bought him on his key ring. 

 

After extremely awkward small talk, listening to some music, walking aimlessly everywhere, and his mom finally arriving home, we left to go to Frankies. In his truck it’s a 3 front seater. I used to always sit in the middle so I could be closer to him. So I could talk to him while he drove and when we took turns the car would shift my body closer to him. He used to always smile when that happened.

 

I walked towards the back seat before he stopped me and said, “You can sit in the middle, if you want.” I didn’t exactly know how to respond. Maybe he was nervous too. But I did, I sat in the middle. 

 

“Do we want to get something to eat there or somewhere else?” His mom questioned, and without any hesitation Eric replied, “Somewhere else please, the food there sucks.” His mom and I both laughed.

 

 “Chick Fil A?” She asked. “Sure.” He replied. He started the car and then we were on our way. 

 

When we got to Chick fil a, he started getting kinda weird. He got upset that he saw people he knew there. I could tell he didn’t want anyone to see him in public with me. I guess he didn’t want to answer questions from people. Like aren’t you guys broken up? Why were you hanging out with her? What are you guys? In a way I understood. But on the other hand it hurts so much to know he was embarrassed of me. Something he never had been before. I tried to ignore it though.

 

 When we got inside his best friend was working. We ordered and I went to sit down because the amount of awkward tension was killing me. He came to sit down with me. With a little bit of pointless small talk, we finally got the food and left. His mom went back inside to get sauces but after that we actually left. Everything got better when we got to Frankies though. On the way there we were jamming out to his rap music and for the first time ever I actually liked it. 

 

Every now and then he’d be singing dramatically and stare at me like he always would. I was in a better mood I think. The first thing we did was ride the go-carts. We decided on the double seater so we could ride together and I let him drive. As it took off he got so excited and the wind brushing through my face into my hair felt so good. He would smile so big and look at me every so often as we raced around the track. Seeing him smile at me meant the world. Especially that wide, and especially because it was at me. He made the turns as sharp as he could and me shouting “Jesus Eric,” seemed to amuse him as he laughed at me. 

 

Afterwards I talked about how much fun it was and he kept smiling. We went back inside and I challenged him to Mario Kart. It was a close match but I ended up losing. After that, he challenged me to basketball, which I ended up winning even though I was too short to reach the hoop and had to jump in order to get the balls in. We also played a connect 4 basketball version, he won that one though. When we finished with connect 4 I asked him If I could hug him and he said yes. So I did.

 

 Then everything kinda stopped. Time froze. I felt our hearts almost glow, and I could feel in his grasp that he felt like he hadn’t seen me in years. The way he held me was as if he lost me a long time ago, never stopped looking, and finally found me. 

 

 I was in his arms holding on so tightly, and he was holding on tightly as well, tighter than his previous hug earlier. I didn’t want to let go and I could tell he didn't either. My face was buried in the back of his neck and he just squeezed and held me so close to him, I felt so at home. I almost cried as I held the boy I loved the closest I possibly could. When we finally let go, he didn't move away from me. Instead he held my arms and still kept me close while staring into my eyes. I stared back at him. His eyes lit up, and the love for me radiated through his facial expression. In this moment I asked myself how he broke up with me, when he clearly still couldn’t bare leaving me alone. For a moment it seemed like he’d kiss me. I think he almost did. 

 

“Let’s talk.” He says seriously, and holds my hand while leading me to a couch in the corner of the arcade. 

 

We sat down and I tried to control my nervous deep breathing.”Are you sure you want to talk about it, because we don’t have to.” I tell him, scared of what he might say to me. 

 

 “Yes, I’m sure.” He paused. “I just don’t know if I can be in a relationship. Have this obligation.” He says. 

 “I know, and it doesn’t have to feel like an obligation. You don’t have to call me every night.  I just want to make you happy, support you, be there for you, and love you. But, I can’t change your mind or your decision.” I started to cry. I felt pathetic that I couldn’t even get through 5 minutes of our talk without crying. He pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me. That same tight grasp kept me in his arms, and the warmth of his chest against my cheek was so familiar and perfect, yet I hadn’t experienced it in so long. God I missed him. I still do. 

 

He always made me feel so at home, so safe and understood. He was the first person in my life to look at me as if he saw the entire universe. The first person to ever not look at me like I was crazy. After all that’s what love really is. It’s being comfortable around someone. Finding comfort in their presence. It isn’t always heart racing and butterflies. Most of the time it’s knowing everything about them and knowing that their hug could make every problem go away even just for a moment. It’s being inexplicably happy after being around them. It’s being comfortable. Something we both had towards one another. Comfort. 

 

He was tearing up too. 

 

“I just really wanted you to pick me. Every time, even when I was confused, I still always picked you. I just wanted this time to be me.” I tell him as I cried even more. He held me tighter. “I just love you.” I say. “And you don’t have to say it back.” 

 

“I don’t know what love is, honestly.” He says. “Yes you do.” I tell him. “I don’t remember. I’m so emotionally confused.” He kept sighing not knowing what to say. “Hey.” He says, and pulls me up. “You know I have feelings for you, and it’s taking everything out of me not to kiss you right now, but that wouldn’t be fair to you. Me being confused like this isn't fair to you either. I should have no doubts.” He says. 

 

“I think deep down it is without a doubt. You just have this wall. You’re scared to feel it because it hurts, because losing us hurts. I don’t have that wall and I’ve been falling apart.” I conclude. 

 

“You can say you don’t don’t remember what love feels like but I see the way you look at me. That’s why I left the scrapbook on your bed, I wanted you to look through it and remember that we were happy, and we still can be.” I tell him. 

 

“The scrunchie you left on my door made me cry.” He replies. “It was yellow.” I say. “I know.” He responds, and tears up a bit.  “I really want to kiss you.” He tells me. “You can if you want.” I reply, slightly laughing through the cry. ‘I want to.” He says. 

 

He stares into my eyes for a little bit of time. 

 

Then he did. Time froze again. I felt the movie camera circling us, and the fireworks exploded. It was amazing, and I missed it so much. His lips were so soft and genuine. Without his braces, kissing him felt different but better. I felt warm, whole, and complete. I could tell he felt that too. And for a moment I thought everything would be okay. In that moment he was mine again. I was comforted and really believed we could work it out and be happy together. 

 

“I miss that.” I tell him. “Me too.” He says. After, I snuggle back up into his arms. “That’s the first time I’ve kissed someone who wasn’t my girlfriend.” He says. “In my mind, I still am.” I say. “In mine too.” He replies. The entire time he never stopped holding my hand. “I need your help thinking.” He says, and I sit back up again. “What do I say to people if we got back together.” He asks. “You say it was a break and we were figuring out some problems.” I respond. He seems to like that answer. “I think that would work.” He responds, and my heart flutters. I smile. “And I know I can make the changes. I can be better, I promise you. I can do this.” I tell him. “I believe you.” He tells me, while smiling at me again. I let out a sigh of relief. He hadn’t believed me before. We kiss again. It was sweet, innocent, and soft. When we pulled apart he was still about an inch from my face and I could see the way his eyes lit up.  

 

“So are we good?” I ask. My facial expression so hopeful, and also terrified that he would tell me no. “Not back together yet.” He replies. I focused on the fact that he said yet. 

 

“I’m gonna talk to my friends. Not Jenna, she’s really over it.” He says. “Please not Ben Locey, I know he just pretends to like me. “ I say. “He pretends to like everyone, he talks shit about me behind my back.” He replies. “Then why are you friends with him?” I ask. “Because I don’t care.” He laughs. “Just not Ben Please,” I say, “Okay.” He says calmly, almost a whisper. He said it happily, like he would when I would ask him to promise me he loved me in the past. It was that soft, adorable, genuinely happy whisper. There was comfort in the tone of his voice, while he was smiling at me. “I’ll talk to Caleb and Sam, well maybe not Sam I already know what she’ll say.”  “Okay.” I said. 

 

“I’ll talk to Caleb, what day is it?” He asks. “The 17th.” I say. “Ok, You’re gonna come over on friday and it’ll be the final decision. You’re coming over on friday, promise?” He says, and looks at me, “I promise.” I reply and smile so wide. We kiss again, and my heart shines with a golden glow. “I miss you.” I say while crying again in his arms. “I miss you too.” He says back, while holding me. I felt so safe. So at home.

 

 “Do you wanna take photo booth pictures with me.” I ask. “Yes.” He tells me, with his genuine sunshine smile. “You’re religious right?” He asks before we get up. “Yeah kinda.” I say. “Pray that I feel these feelings for you after you’re gone.” He tells me. “I will.” I say. “And if you feel them start to fade, look through the scrap book and remember.” 

 

He smiles. “Promise me you will.” I say. “I promise.” He tells me. “I prayed that things would go well tonight, and that you would kiss me.” He looked at me with so much love in his eyes. “You prayed that I would kiss you?” 

 

“Yeah I did. And then you did.” 

 

“And then I did.” 

 

He held me again. I couldn’t shake his warmth. The warmth I always loved. For someone who was always cold, he was perfect for me. In more ways than just that though. 

 

Then we went to find the photo booth. 

 

At first we took a normal picture. I was curled up on him, my hands on his chest. His braceless smile shined so bright I could’ve sworn he was a movie star. The second one we kissed, He initiated it as well. He held me close, and the memory of us kissing in a photobooth for the first time popped into my head. Maybe we were re-doing our relationship, but making it better. The third one was a silly one, I did peace signs over my eyes while he stuck his tongue out. And the fourth one was a cute one, I pinched his cheeks while he had his arm around me. 

 

They were the best pictures I think we’d ever taken. We both looked so happy. The happiest we’ve ever looked in pictures. I knew that this could be the way it was from now on. Happy. We proved that tonight, I just really hoped he saw that too. 

 

After the pictures were done we stayed in the booth for a little longer, and we kissed and smiled in between. He kept wanting to kiss me again even after we pulled apart. In that moment I remembered how he kissed me just a week prior when the 49-ers scored the winning goal at the soccer game we went to.

 

“Kissing you without braces is different.” I say. “Better?” He asks while still grinning. “Yes.” I say while smiling, and he kisses me again. When we step out he hugs me tight and then picks me up. I giggle like I always do when he does that. Then he saw his mom, so he put me down and we walked over to her. He put his photo strip in his wallet with all the other pictures of me he kept there. 

 

“I don’t know if you noticed but I never took them out.” He tells me. “I did notice.” I say. We both smile. “I never even thought about taking them out.” He says. I felt like I could fly. 

 

“Did you take your pictures?” His mom asks us when we finally make it over to her. “Yep.” He says. “Where are they?” She questions. “In my wallet.” He replies. “Can I see them?” She pushes. “No.” He says. I giggle. 

 

On the way back home to drop me off we all sing along to Old Town Road. It was the first time I ever sang along to it with him. I always acted like I hated that song. When he saw I was singing along, he grinned at me so wide, and my heart felt warm. I found myself greatly appreciating the little things way more than I ever have. Him smiling at me like that was enough to make me feel happy. I just wanted to be able to call him mine again. 

 

He walked me to my door, and told me goodbye. He hugged me, and kissed me when I asked him for one. If it was going to be the last time he ever kissed me, I wanted to know it, remember it, and have it be good.  When he kissed me at my doorstep though I couldn’t help but feel a slight wave of sadness. I didn’t want him to go. 

 

“How mad would you be if I asked you out on facetime?” He asks me. “Not mad at all.” I say, and I smile at him. “You gotta go.” He tells me. “I know but I don’t want to.” I say. “I know.” He replies. He walks back to his car. “If you want, you can call me tonight.” I tell him. “I have a lot of homework.” He shouts back. “Okay then if you can tomorrow, if you want.” I shout back nervously. “Okay.” He says. “Goodnight.” I shout. “Goodnight.” he shouts back. “Are you going inside?” He asks. “I’m going inside.” I say. 

 

And then he was gone. 

 

That night I prayed for him like he asked me to. I put my copies of our photos in places around my room. I got 3 copies. One was in my wallet, one on my white board, and the last one on my vanity mirror. 

 

 I stayed up until 11 watching Glee, and fell asleep cuddling his mickey mouse hoodie, feeling faithful that I’d have my boy back. That I’d be able to be better for him, and that we could be happy. That he’d give me a second chance. We could get through it. That thought kept the insomnia away and I slept wonderfully without my melatonin.

 

I had tried to move past him, try to accept, he most likely would be gone. But, the electricity that erupts in fire when he kisses me or even simply touches me is unlike anything I’d ever experienced. No one had ever been able to make me feel like that before. I tried to push my feelings for him away, deny how badly I wanted him. He pissed me off and seemed to play games. He irritates me in every mixed signal he gives me. But no matter what I did, I just couldn’t deny how I felt about him. I think throughout the relationship I tried so hard not to get attached. To not face the way I actually felt. I was too scared. So without knowing I pushed him away. I couldn’t be honest with myself knowing that I couldn’t ever put myself in a position to lose him. But, losing him made me realize I needed to be honest with myself. 

 

My life before him was different, boring, organized, and planned. But life after him… is just that. 

 

After. 

 

In my dreams I sit on a bench by a rushing yet calm sparkling river. Placing myself on the doc I swing my legs over the side barely in the water. He walks behind me, sits down next to me. All of this after a fight. He sits there without saying a word as he turns to look at me. I look back. Without saying a thing we both just know. We know we’re both sorry. We know we’ll both be okay. We know that no matter how frustrated with each other we get, we just can’t stay away from each other. 

 

At least not forever.

 

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