It’s mid-August. Monsoon season. Today there was a particularly awesome dust storm, so naturally, I invited him over to observe with me. It’s our thing, after all. We both enjoy a good show, and when Mother Nature cooks up a special episode, we NEVER miss it.
The two of us run about in the dust storm for a while, screaming and playing like two hyper little kids. Although some people hate dust storms, I find them fantastic and beautiful. Miraculously, neither of us have any dust allergies or asthma, so dust storms are infinitely more enjoyable.
Amidst all the wind, I look over to see him calmly enjoying the storm, and my heart starts pounding. That’s one of the things I love most about him- his ability to play around like a little boy, and be serious and thoughtful the next. He looks so strong and capable in that moment, and all he’s doing is standing there in a huge cloud of grit! The way he stands, as if nothing will ever phase him, the way he’s casually crossing his arms…. All of him is perfect. He’s my everything, and he doesn’t even know.
We’ve been best friends for three years, but I’ve liked him as more than a friend for almost as long. It kills me to see him flirt with other girls, all the while trying to hide my feelings as if it’s no big deal. But it IS a big deal… To me. Unrequited love is romantic in the books, but in reality, it sucks big-time. All I’ve ever wanted to do is tell him how I feel, but I can’t possibly jeopardize our friendship over a crush. I’m just not that bold. So here I’ve been, year after year, being his faithful friend and simply enjoying the ride (and thinking about his perfect lips more often than I’d care to admit).
He catches me staring and smiles, his eyes crinkling up in a way that makes me utterly melt. Why does he have to do that to me every single time?! Doesn’t he realize I am turning into jelly at his feet? He saunters up.
“Hey, let’s head inside. I’m starting to think my teeth will never be white again!” He grimaces and gets in my face, trying to show off his dirt-covered teeth. Naturally, they look flawless and clean, but I push him away, shrieking about how gross they are, and run toward my house laughing. He quickly catches up and scoops me into his arms (oh, those muscular arms!) and charges up to my garage just as it starts to rain. I punch in the garage code as quickly as possible, and duck inside before the rain can turn us into a gritty, sopping mess.
I head for the door leading into the house, but he grabs my hand and pulls me back.
“Let’s sit and watch the rain,” he says softly, grinning. I leave the garage door open.
“Okay,” I answer automatically. He’s not going to try to….? I push that thought out of my head. Must. Distract. Myself. “Um…. Want a Popsicle? I think my mom just bought some…” I say, turning away and rummaging through the freezer, pulling out a box of fruity-flavored treats.
“Absolutely!” He answers enthusiastically, always in the mood for food. I grab myself a cherry-flavored one and turn to him.
“What flavor?” I ask nonchalantly, knowing the answer before he speaks.
“Grape, of course. It’s always grape for me, you know that!” He chuckles.
“I know, I just hope you’ll change your mind. Who likes grape?” I say, wrinkling my nose. Grape-flavored anything tastes just like medicine, and I’ve never understood why anyone would like it. He sticks his tongue out at me, and I do likewise, handing him his Popsicle. He takes it, his hand lingering on mine for a second longer than necessary. I look down at our hands, heat rushing to my face. I look back up at him, and he’s staring at me with a peculiar look on his face, like he wants to say something; but I’m afraid of what it might be, so I drop my hand and go over to an old bench with my laptop set on top.
I set up Pandora for lack of something better to do, and turn up the volume. It’s too quiet in here, aside from the pounding rain outside. He sits on the ratty old couch set in the middle of the garage and motions for me to sit next to him. I curl up on a cushion and we both sit in silence, crunching on our icy desserts. The rain really is beautiful, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend our afternoon. We finish our Popsicles, and we tell each other the jokes printed on the sticks (what has two hands but no arms? A clock). Then we sit back and listen to the music, singing along to some of them, but mostly watching the rain quietly.
Suddenly, Coldplay’s song “Sparks” comes on, and he stands up.
“Dance with me,” he says, extending his arm.
“Really?” I say hesitantly. I don’t want this to turn into a pillow fight or something stupid.
“Really,” he says, pulling me up off the couch and into his arms. We sway slowly to the music, me leaning my head on his chest the way I’ve considered doing so many times. He folds his arms around my waist, and I tuck my hands under my chin, so he’s just holding me as we slowly turn a circle. The sun is peeking out from the clouds, turning the rain into a golden shimmer.
He leans in close to my ear and sings softly with the song,
“my heart is yours, it’s you that I hold on to… That’s what I do.”
He holds me tighter, and stops moving. I look up at him, and he smiles. Brushing my hair away from my face, he brings his other hand up and, sliding them both into my messy hair, tilts my face up to his. His lips just barely brush mine, and I grip onto his wrists, getting onto my tiptoes. We close our eyes, and our lips finally meet.
His lips are soft, warm, and gentle. He tastes sweet, like a grape Popsicle. I always thought I hated that flavor, but now I’m having second thoughts. This kiss changes everything. I no longer care that I’ve waited so long to tell him how I feel, because it doesn’t matter anymore. The fact that I’ve had to stay in the background, waiting for my turn to be his leading lady, is irrelevant in this moment. This perfect, blissful moment.
I feel beautiful. It doesn’t matter that I’m in my old sweatpants with the frayed edges. It doesn’t matter that I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup, nor does it matter that my hair is a tangled, dusty rat’s nest. Right now, I am the most beautiful girl in the world. I am HIS girl, and I’ve never been so blissfully happy.
We finally break the kiss, and he leans his forehead on mine, breathing in. I breathe in as well, and inhale the scent of wet pavement along with his smell. Clean, and masculine, with just a hint of dirt from the storm. I’ll remember this smell forever.
We hold each other, still not saying a word, and as I look outside, I can see the rain still falling, lit by the sunshine. It’s a beautiful sight, the golden rain.
It almost looks like… Sparks.