The first time I saw her was the very first time in my life that I was rendered speechless. She stood a little way away from me in the hotel lobby, waiting on the side while our mothers caught up with each other. Then our moms made the necessary introductions and she sat down next to me, smiling a dazzling smile. I caught a whiff of her perfume, mingling pleasantly with the scent of her flavored lip gloss. She asked me a question I barely even registered and I gave her a noncommittal grunt. I looked away from her warm brown eyes, resisting the sudden urge to run my fingers through her long black hair. She left and I thought that was the end of it.
But I couldn't have been more wrong. Over the rest of the vacation, I kept on running into her, be it at breakfast, in the lobby, by the pool, on the stairs, out in the hallway, at sponsored dinners, she was everywhere I turned. One unfortunate night caught the two of us sharing an elevator, with no one else around to distract me from her. I could smell the lotion on her skin, begging me to touch her, to run my hands all over her body, to explore and push her buttons and find out what made her tick. But I stopped myself just in time.
Then she was gone.
The next summer though, she was staying at the same hotel I was. I amounted it to a stroke of good luck and I vowed that I would master the courage to talk with her, at least just once. But when my eyes locked on hers, I froze up. I was caught helplessly under her gaze. And when she looked at me from behind her long lashes, my breath caught in my throat.
She talked to me for a while, I could only nod my head mutely in response. When she made a move to leave, I mentally kicked myself for letting the moment go again. But then she turned around and waved goodbye, and I mustered a smile despite my heart getting lodged in my throat and my lungs forgetting how to be lungs.
I looked forward to seeing her again the next summer.
Sure enough, she was there. But this time, she wasn't alone. She sat in the lobby with another guy around our age, talking and laughing as if they were having the time of their lives, like nothing else in the world mattered.
She introduced us and tried to drag me into the conversation, but I kept quiet, content to be next to her and to be able to see her so happy. Most people would say I'm an idiot for not owning up to how I feel. They'd say I'm a coward who doesn't even deserve her, and I'd agree. But so what if I'm stuck with this unrequited love? She's happy and so, I'm happy, even though she'll never be more than a summer crush, and I'll never be more than a summer friend.