And while James is clearly better at playing chess and having a cool mustache and riding his bike uphill for a long time and watching sports, I’m pretty good at other things: spinning words, strumming the guitar, obsessing over rivers, finding good coffee shops… it all balances out nicely.
Back in the car, I kept sticking my hand out the window, feeling the cold air, and then placing my cold hand on my cheek. “This is what’s real,” I whispered to myself, more than once.
He was, I believe, so intimidated by this well-written rap I’d composed in less than three minutes that he couldn’t bring himself to respond. Oh well.
These boys made me feel like a ghost. Like they couldn’t, or didn’t want, to see me at all; like they’d rather hold my okay body and kiss my alright mouth with their eyes closed so they could imagine I was the girl with big boobs, the girl with the great hair and make-up, the better, beautiful girl from last summer.
I looked at both of the men, considering the clothes they were wearing. “Do either of you have a phone?” No. “Do you want me to call 911?” Yes.
He shook his head no. “The only scary thing was when my instructor asked me to intentionally spin the plane out. I had to do this because he needed to see that I’d know how to correct it.” I loved this. I will always remember this about him.
I replied that I’d be flying into Phoenix this March and then road-tripping through western CO.
“Can I meet you in Phoenix?” he asked.
I was coming into a foggy Birmingham now, red and green and orange and yellow, and there was this mist over everything that looked like ghosts; it overwhelmed me.
So I pulled up our old thread and was just about to send the song along with a text that read I’m sorry and I miss you and can we please keep listening to records and being dorky and getting to know each other? when I imagined him happily on a date with someone else.
I wasn’t wishing that a boy was watching my boots move in the snow or observing the cuteness of my beanie OR that he was thinking I was cute or thinking that he was falling in love with me now.