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We went walking yesterday. So shy about asking to go out, heads turned away---your roommate was right. It was like dancing the Mahee ve. We walked for a while, in the woods, along the trail. You walked too fast, because you always do, but then you took my hand when no one could see, and when the trail was wide enough, we walked this way.
We talked of whatever came to mind, no one theme, and when I stopped to look at some trees, you put one hand on my waist and kissed my forehead. “Smile,” you said, and we went through the trees to a bare place, and we sat and looked at the view. I sat in front of you, leaning against you, and you had your arms around me, and we just sat that way for a while, watching the birds and the trees and the cars far away. No one could see. Then, I stood up, but you said, “Five more minutes,” and I waited, just sitting with you. We walked on a while, then, and when the time we’d agreed on was halfway up, we turned back. We walked out, my arm around your waist, my fingers through your beltloop, your arm around my back. When the trail was wide enough, we walked that way. And when we got to the divide, I could pull you the way I wanted to go—down the rocky, darker trail, not the gravel road. It was almost a joke, anymore, that divide.
You went away for a while- work to do, people to visit, shower to take. I did the same, and it grew late, and I went to bed. You came later still, knocked softly, then came in and lay down beside me, put your arm over me, held my hand. “How are you?” “Tired.” And so we slept.
I woke in the middle of the night. I don’t why. The feel of your hand, bigger than mine, and warmer, and not so soft was comforting. It was around mine. And you slept. I felt lonely, and so I turned to you. You stirred, but you didn’t wake. There was the smell of your hair as you’d just washed it, the smell of your deodorant, which was like spices, and your shaving cream. I touched your face, because it was smooth, except around the edges…still fuzzy. You woke up, then, and blinked at me. You squeezed me once and smiled sheepishly. It was a way of asking for a hug, and I gave it, and you kissed me. You smelled like sleep, if that’s possible, and when I turned away again, you stroked my arm, and I said, “Go back to sleep.” Your hand on my arm folded into a beautiful sign, and I relaxed.
You waited, and after a few minutes, when I was nearly asleep, you said something to me. I couldn’t understand you, but I knew what you’d said. “I love you.”
In the morning, I woke up, and looked at you. You stretched, like a little kid, and asked for the time. I gave it. You gave me a hug and smiled as you yawned. The kind of smile that showed youth, like dancing the Mahee ve. We got up, went to the restrooms, came back.
“How are you?” you asked me. “Fine, thanks. And you?” “Very good.” “More words than that.” “You first.”
You showed me a song, and I showed you a song, and we lay there, listening. You lay on your back, and I lay on my stomach beside you, my arm across your chest. Your shirt was clean, and smelled like laundry soap.
And tomorrow didn’t matter, not just then. Later, you helped me with math, and I spoke to you in Spanish, but you didn’t understand. I read a book, and you lay as I had been lying, and said very softly, “I can hear your heart.”
I put my hand in your hair, and told you again how it wasn’t even, and you looked up at me and said, “Quiet, you.” but it was so shy. So sweet.
And when I didn’t smile, you came close to me, and touched the tip of your nose to the corners of my mouth until I did. You said, “Nose-poking always works,” and it was true.
And we stayed that way until 10, when we went to breakfast, and then….then you had homework, and laundry, and I had the same, plus to practice the flute. And we were to call our parents, and then…it’d be Monday, and another 6 days till a night like this. So, I ate slowly. We didn’t talk much. Stuart came, and you argued about weapons and politics and the internet, and you walked away with him. “See you.”
You didn’t have to say anything else.
I went to my room, and changed clothes. I put in my laundry, and took my flute and music and walked down the long way, where I wouldn’t have to talk to people. And that night, I studied music theory with Shail and had dinner with Ali and the little kids, and had to clean the dayroom, and sat looking at the schedule for the week and feeling tired. 6 more days.
I understand the passage of time by the rolled-up end of my toothpaste tube. Otherwise, everything gets lost.
And my mom says this is what happens when intellectuals fall in love.