Owing to the restlessness of my being, and my legs, the bed sheet is creased up in a warm pile at the foot of the bed.

Brad Paisley is doing the fourth take of his verse on ‘Without A Fight.’ He will probably do a fifth – and a sixth. I want to hear all of the words as he sings them. Yet as soon as the first line is sung, my listening mind is caught up in a memory, the same one:

I am walking down the stairs at your home. You are walking behind me. My thoughts are so heavy I almost worry.

The guitar riffs signal the pre-chorus. I’d listened to Brad without hearing him, again. So I restart the song, again. And then I drift, again. The image – that damn image – refuses to leave my mind’s eye.

I chart a conversation in my head even though I know I will not call you. It is stupid, hopelessly so, the way I hang on to this memory of you.

John,

I wonder, do you not wonder what could have been? Where we would have gone from there, standing on your mattress?

You must have known. Did you know? I mean, I had that book all day and I could easily have gotten it back if I’d wanted. If I had stood up and come at you, who were holding it from me with an effortlessness laden with such promise.

But it was okay, for the purpose of rewards, to dally this way. To sit across your thighs and try to pry the book from your hands tucked backward, shyly hugging you in the process.  And then, you moved your arms out forward to hold the book behind me, enclosing me within an inch of your sensuous grasp. The half-hearted struggle that had me pinned down under your weight – Heaven!

You sat up too quickly though. When I cussed at you, it was for not holding on to the book a little longer. It meant then that it was time to head home. I stood up, stretched and started to dust the hesitation off my uniform, cussing, in my mind, some more, at you.

Meet me halfway, Stupid!

You read the signs, perhaps, because you pulled playfully at me, by the waist, backwards over and onto the mattress to lean on your frame, while you leaned against the wall. I had not heard you stand. The laughter that permeated the room moments ago now sat low in your throat, resonating in your chest, vibrating at my back.

Hold me like I am the baby Moses and you, the Nile!

It was the most natural thing for me – me who said ‘I love you’ first – to turn around in your arms to face you. To lift my arms and cradle your neck in a bolder, less coy embrace.

Crunch to my Arthur!

To lay my head on your chest and feel your breath quicken at first, and then deepen, the desire looming – just above my head!

‘I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.’

You murmured your acknowledgment, and yet you held on. I did not want to let go either, but someone had to be sensible and say goodbye first. I began searching in your eyes, for something, some sign to help me let go.

Your face leaned in closer and without thinking, I moistened my lower lip.

My upturned neck began to hurt, and when I started to turn, to relieve it of the tension, you came in at the door!

Well, almost!

With your nose, you brushed my entire nose, side to side. It was better than I expected. (Do not take my word for it. I still have not been kissed). The joy rose in my throat and tottered forward. A lush silence followed, in which everything else outside of our private space in your room gyrated: motorcycles and St. Michael’s school bell, school children reliving the excitements of the day on their way home, and workers returning in a babel of loud traffic.

You were happy. You held me a little closer, held my eyes a little longer.

But we did not hear your big sister come in. Did you get in trouble after you walked me home?

Written by Silly Anonymous

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