Oh, how I loved you, B.
From the first time you flashed that show-stopping smile I knew I’d at least enjoy looking at you. You greeted every day with sunshine on your face and sand on your toes, toes that moved to the rhythm of the opposite coast.
We were all from elsewhere, fast friends in a house full of gypsies. For weeks I came and went, pulled back like the tide, and for weeks you smiled. I’d watch you sail into the kitchen and dance back to the patio. You would sit with me and chat, but there were always distractions. You had classes. I had plans.
Then one day, over tea, there were none of those things. My defenses were down, you talked for too long, and I discovered you, too, were older than the others. I realized there was meat to your soul, marinated and salted. I watched you cook that night, and I saw love.
I cracked open, a little.
The next day I was craving salad, and you needed a new paintbrush. Just like that we left our comfort zone and headed for the mall together. Six hours later I’d return with smashed spinach in the bottom of my purse. I never did eat my salad. That day, over and over, I fell in love instead.
I’m still not sure what started it all. Was it the nerves you flashed at the pharmacy when I popped in for toothpaste and found you by the condoms? The happy dance you did when you found the economics bible in the used bin? Perhaps it was the whispers about your grandfather, and how proud he would be, when I convinced you to buy the good paintbrushes.
Or maybe it was all in how you polished off my shakshuka while half the restaurant watched.
“This beautiful couple,” the hipster hostess said, handing us off to our waiter. We shared a laugh, but we knew she was right.
I don’t remember whose idea lunch was, but it was a good one. I told you things, while we sopped egg yolks off our plates with fluffy strips of bread, things I hadn’t told anyone in so long that I hesitated more than once, but you were listening. You didn’t recoil, so I continued. We passed a point, sometime before the coffees got cold. The air in the restaurant thickened. The music faded. It’s that point two people pass and can’t ever return from, whether they like it or not: the point where I have seen…