I remember the last time I saw you; the last time any loving words to me fell from your lips, dripping into my laps like diamonds. We were driving in your car in the middle of summer, the windows rolled down and my hair a mess. My legs were sticky, clinging to the leather seat of your expensive-in-the-1950s-but-rundown-now car and you were laughing, gesturing madly as the steering wheel did what it wanted – you were too busy singing along to the radio to care.
The white and yellow lines were no more than a blur; I threw on my sunglasses to protect my eyes from that daring August sun that made my shorts and tank top feel like a winter coat foolishly put on in the middle of a heat wave.
"Baby," your voice was sultry as always, low between the words of the radio announcer.
I reached over and turned down the volume, the black of the controls burning my fingertips. You gave me a small glare because that was the rule – no touching the volume, no messing with the volume, touch that volume dial and I swear I'll – but I wanted to be able to hear your voice. That deep voice was imprinted on my eardrums, sometimes springing to mind when you were nowhere near.
"Baby," I tried to copy your tone, but I never could. You were a god and I was a jester attempting to be a princess. I glanced at your eyes, but couldn't meet them, you were concentrating on the road – as you should be, as was good – but I missed the opportunity to meet those chocolate brown orbs that seemed to melt like real chocolate. I lowered my eyes to my legs and ran my moist palms over the flesh of my thighs and hoped they weren't quite as fleshy as I thought they were; the girls you knew all had legs that had no flesh on them and I didn't understand how they maintained legs that hypnotizing (I hoped you knew I was trying for those hypnotizing legs because I knew that you looked at them; you had to be looking at them because, hell, I was always looking at them).
"You're the most amazing girl I've ever known." You reached for my hand and I eagerly stretched my fingers along the length of yours. My heart spend up at your tiny compliment because I knew it simply couldn't be true but yet you chose to say it anyway and you made my body do crazy things.
"You are the sweetest boy in the whole world." I responded and I knew it was true. Not only were you the sweetest boy in the whole world but the best boy in the entire world. You were a gentlemen, you were chivalrous, you were funny and honest and intelligent and fast and slow, caring and beautiful all at the same time. You were simply so much that you made my heart ache sometimes in utter amazement at you.
You didn't respond, but you didn't have too. I could feel the way you felt about me radiating through your warm fingertips into my palms, zapping into my bloodstream and straight into my heart, pounding along like a drum controlled by a drummer who had no control.
The car swerved off the road and I let out a screech as you bumped along a path (there was no way what we were on could be considered a road).
"Calm down," you said with a laugh.
I tried but I hated bumpy car ride and you knew that. My breasts were jumping up and down with the bouncy car and I wished that I could unfreeze myself enough to hold them down – though I adored you, worshipped you, I still hadn't let you see my body (no one ever had) I was so ashamed of it, especially when I happened to see your ex's in the hallway or the girls that your friends hung out with. I just simply wasn't enough (or too much depending on how you looked at it). I hoped that we weren't bouncing for much longer but we were, and my breasts broke free of both my bra and my tank top.
I can pinpoint the exact moment you looked over and saw them, even though I wasn't looking at you. I can always tell when you're looking at me because, when you are, I feel as though the entire world is revolving around me because, for the moment, I was the center of your world. I blushed, I could feel the blush all the way from the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes. I was able to move immediately, and I clamped both arms down across my chest, effectively shoving my breasts back into my shirt and hiding them.
You parked the car, and for a moment, I forgot about the embarrassment and the blush that was still raging across my body. I don't know how you found that place (or even if it was really as perfect as how my memory sees it) but it stole my breath away. My air was literally stolen away on the sea breeze as we parked on that cliff – all alone – as the waves crashed along the distance bottom and I heard gulls cry, though I couldn't see them. There were beaches in the distance and I could only see tiny, dark dots milling about on the distant brown sand, tiny dots that were supposed to be human beings.
"Wow," I told you, with the air that had managed to leak back into my lungs.
"Still not as beautiful as you."
I had giggled madly at that; both at the compliment and how absurd it was that someone could consider me beautiful.
We ended up in the backseat. We were kissing and it was there, in the open air, my back against the leather seats of your could-be-called-a-classic-if-you-took-care-of-it car, that I made love for the first time in my life. And it wasn't just sex – not for me. It was making love. I could feel it with every kiss you pressed on my swollen lips, every brush of skin on skin. There was love, popping and bubbling, becoming a living thing between us.
"I love you," you told me when we were done, our clothes back on, in the front seat, enjoying the view.
You'd said it before, but it meant more now. Because now your love wasn't just in tiny words, whispered in my ear, spoken in front of your friends. Your love was tangible; I had held it in my arms as you came and whispered my name.
"I love you too," and I had tears in my eyes. I was so young and that feeling was filling me, overflowing, and I couldn't contain it. I trembled with the utter joy of it all; the utter perfection of life and all it had to offer.
You drove me home then. I didn't even mind the bumps on the way down my path because you were holding my hand and rubbing your thumb across my skin, raising goose bumps on the hottest day in August. We were driving too fast, like always, and you didn't even look at me twice when I turned up the radio and – serendipity set in as our song started playing and we were singing along like there wasn't a care in the world.
Maybe we should have cared a little bit more. Maybe we should have realized that a hundred and forty was a little too fast for a ninety zone. Maybe I shouldn't have seized that opportunity to look into your dazzling chocolate eyes. Maybe I shouldn't have turned the radio up so high so we would have heard that truck coming.
But we didn't.
And you were gone.
Your daughter is seven now, by the way. She's beautiful with melted chocolate eyes and she carries herself like you did. My little star. She asks about you (there's a picture of us on the mantel – the picture where you didn't want to stand still at all, which was strange for you because usually you could manage to stand still long enough for a photo op, so you picked me up and the camera caught us in mid-twirl) and I never know what to say. There was so much to the story of us, so much we should have been able to tell. Sometimes, when I tell her a bedtime story, I fill in the missing pieces of what might have happened with us. I need to give us those happy endings, fleeting though the happiness may be.
I like to think that I'll see you again, and that our love was as real as I thought it was. I like to think that, despite what I thought back then, I was enough for you. If you had lived then maybe we wouldn't have lasted forever – we were so young, young, young and there was so damn much left for us to learn and sometimes learning takes being on your own but in my daydreams (then and now) we learned together. I like to think that you look over us and I know that if you can, you know she's as perfect as I know she is.
"I'll love you forever, you know," you said the night before our ill-fated drive, lying on your favourite place on your roof, just outside of your bedroom window (we live in your parents' house; they live in Florida now and gave me the deed; your room is the way you left it, I want her to be able to learn about her father that way and sometimes we go on the roof and eat brownies with the sprinkles because that was your favourite and somehow they've become her favourite too).
"You promise?" I put my head on your shoulder and you were holding me oh-so-tight and I'll never forget that feeling because no one can ever hold me like that again. Our hearts were beating together and everything was just so perfect; I could look up into the stars and see our future together written there.
"Of course I promise. No one could ever compare to my girl." You drop a kiss on my forehead and my stomach churns with butterflies.
"I love you so much."
"I love you more."