It was early afternoon. I was on a bench, in the middle of my old college campus hanging out with friends. We were laughing about something silly and childish, and making a complete ruckus in the normally quiet area of school.
No one minded us anyway. I guess people expect five girls coming together once in a blue moon to be shrilly.
Then he walks by. I feel myself stop in mid-laugh, my face flushing with what I’m sure is the color of the communist flag. I just can’t hide anything from him, can I? The raw anxiety brought about by the sense of the new yet familiar always made me blush. Everyone could see I was in love. I was the only one trying to hide it from myself by playing it cool… and failing miserably.
He sits beside me, taking the tiny space between me and the edge of the bench, so I scoot a bit to make room for him. His arm automatically wraps around my waist and my heart starts to beat a little faster. Be still my heart, I say to myself but no amount of lullaby would calm it down.
Inasmuch as we’d have wanted to stay and chitchat for a few more hours, he actually came by to pick me up and take me home. It was suddenly our new thing, to have our quiet time together in his car as he drove me to my house. There was an unspoken respect for that few minutes of alone time and we both naturally followed the unsaid rule to the T.
So we stand in near perfect unison and say goodbye for the day to our friends. As we walk away, his hand clasps mine. I love it when he holds my hand. It makes me feel safe, that I have a stronghold in him and I can only pray that I give that same stronghold back to him by holding his hand back. It would mean the world to me if I knew for certain that he knew I would be on his side always. And that if he knew I was there, he has nothing to be afraid of. I could only wish I knew what he thought in his head, and what he felt in his heart. Wanton wishes for the fool in love.
When we approach the car, he opens the passenger side’s door, but tells me not to go in yet. He turns me to him and wraps me in his arms in a warm, deep embrace. I nearly melt to the ground as tears well my eyes. We hold each other for a while, neither wanting to let go of the other. A tranquil peace falls around us, a total sense of belonging, longing and home. I feel like I’m home. He makes me feel like I’m home. Maybe because he is home. And I know I will love him forever.
He turns his face towards mine and I see love staring back at me, his eyes boring down into mine. A slight smirk touches his lips, and I can’t help but laugh out loud. He looks boyish when he smirks like that and he does it just to draw a guffaw out of me. I still can’t believe how this beautiful man came falling easily into my life, how one moment no one was there then the next came along and there he was.
“Are you for real?” I ask, not meaning to say the question aloud. I flush with embarrassment the second the words escape me.
His smirk disappears into a frown, as he replies “No.”
Then I wake up. All a dream. And the hollow that was once my heart is here again. Only the tears were real and they fall freely down my face.