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I can tell he wants to talk to me. His mouth his open in that awkward way, and his hand poised as if it is about to touch mine. I turn my head toward the wall and pretend to ignore him. After a moment, the bell dings, and the doors open. He raises his eyebrows at me politely… is he going to ask me my name, my phone number? He walks around me as he exits our room. The room where we first met. I glance at his back.
I smile at him as he extends his hand. I taste his name in my mouth, the word sweet on my tongue. He tastes my name, repeats it, and smiles nervously. His hand is cool. Not clammy, but just refreshingly cool. His lips are moving now, forming words that organize themselves into sentences that organize themselves into paragraphs. I don’t hear him. I just watch. Watch his brown eyes with green speckles as he laughs, his smile as he relaxes, I study him until I could ace any test he gives me.
He’s sitting next to me now, his elbows resting carefully on his knees. I can comprehend his words now. They make sense. He looks relatively interested in what I have to say. I smile. He towers over me and tucks my hair behind my ear. His lips move to say something like, Warm butter. That’s what I am with you, Jake. Warm butter. I melt when you ask me to, bend when you smile, turn into a puddle when you laugh, become stone solid when you accidentally yell at me.
Our fingers are intertwined now, his thumb rubbing my palm. It tickles. I shiver and he raises his eyebrows just like he did the first time we met. I smile shyly and he laughs, running his callused fingers along my jawbone. He yawns and reaches up to the sky. I smile as his arm coils around me again. You send shivers up my spine, Jake. I swear.
We are closer than ever before. Now he is leaning in. Closer. Closer. Closer. He is millimeters away from my face. I close my eyes. Its over before it started. I open my eyes and glance at him. Monarchs are dancing around in my belly, and the world moves underneath my feet. A black curtain falls over my vision rapidly in succession. He accuses me of being a flirt. I smile coyly. He laughs that Prince Charming laugh. The one that I love.
We exchange the three words that I have been waiting for since I first met him. He leans in and presses his lips to mine. My mouth is numb, my mind is blank. I am reeling. I pull the rope to the black curtain and it falls over my eyes once again. I stay there, in a blackout, until my cue line is said and the curtain is pulled up. I bobble my head up and down, I am a collectable toy.
His face is a tomato, his voice is thunder. Warm droplets fall down my cheeks, and I try to get rid of them before he notices. He certainly does notice. Slap.
I am in my bed. My head hurts. My vision feels like I need glasses. I struggle to rise. I am restrained by invisible rope. I notice a plum growing on my knee. A hyena’s laugh escapes out of my mouth.
My parents want me to talk. Talk to a circle of people that all have problems. It was only one time. The black curtain fell for too long, so? Who cares if I missed my cue line?
Flowers are sitting in a vase. A placard rises out of them. I know what it will say. I know what name I will taste if I examine the paper. I pick the flowers up and toss them in a bin.
He begged me to forgive him. “No.” I uttered. He raised his eyebrows, also surprised that I am not a collectable toy.