At The Window,Day 630ishI’m in my room, dressed for bed in a cotton tee-shirt and shorts. In one of those rare moments where I’m not talking on the phone, I have my music turned on low and my bedroom door is closed as the rest of my family readies themselves for bed. I’m propped up against my pillows and headboard, working on a note to Ryan. We exchange them frequently. Mine are always decorated with swirls and hearts and stickers. His are always scratched out in terse, but nicely legible letters and are always exactly one page long. Both of us pride ourselves on being quite funny and finding new and exciting ways to exchange the same flirtations. Our real masterpieces are the ones we write back and forth when we‘re sitting next to each other in class. Once my Dad found one and he said that Ryan and I could write scripts or something with our talent, judging by our entertaining exchanges.
I hear a “ping” sound, which I don’t think much of, so lost am I in the composition of my note. The ping is closely followed by another. I lift my head and turn my ear to locate the source of the sound. Another “ping” louder than the ones before, sneaks its way into my ear through the window right above my bed. I drop my pen, mid-swirly letter, crawl out of my covers and peer between two of the closed blinds. I see a person standing on the grass just below my window. I can’t see much more than a pair of jean clad legs, shrouded in darkness, but I think I have a good idea who’s out there. I pull up the blinds and slide my window open, looking down from my vantage point on the second floor of our home.
“Hey,” says Ryan’s quiet voice, “I was just out with some friends and I saw your light on.”
“Just a second,” I say. I scramble across my single bed and click off my lamp, making my room dark so that the advantage of sight will belong to both of us and not just to him. Then I bounce back to the window, unable to contain my excitement at his unexpected visit.
“You just threw pebbles at my window,” I say. I’ve donned my dramatic voice, to communicate how very quaint I think it all is. “It’s very Romeo and Juliet.”
We’ve studied Romeo and Juliet together for our English class.
“Well, I hope we don’t turn out like they did,” Ryan says.
“I really do hate a sad ending,” I say, “Young love is a treacherous thing.” I grin.
“Some people say that kids our age don’t know what love is,” he says pulling some long needles off the pine tree that’s looming over him, just to keep his hands busy.
“What would you say to that?” I ask.
“I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll tell anybody that I love them… until I get married or something.”
I wonder if he can see the way my eyes grow large and round and I chew on my bottom lip out of guilt.
“Wait a minute. You’ve already said it to people haven’t you?”
“Ummmm…. Maybe… but I don’t think I meant it!”
“I can’t believe you’ve told boys you love them!”
“It came as quite a shock to me too,” I say, propping my chin on my fist and trying to sport my adorable guilty but still irresistible expression. “One day B called me and I was so nervous and we made some stilted conversation and when it was time to get off of the phone, all of the sudden, in the middle of our goodbye, he accosted me with ‘love you’.” I shudder visibly. “I couldn’t believe it! I was totally stunned and then I just said it back! Then I slammed the phone down and fell over on my bedroom carpet at the shock of it all. After that, I just figured it was something people say and I never really thought of, I don’t know, the power behind it.”
“Nice. So you are one of the diminishers of the three magic words,” Ryan shakes his head like a disappointed parent, but he still wears a half smile.
“I know!” I say. “It’s so ironic that I of all people would ever do something to lessen the importance of love! …This is a really uplifting conversation, by the way, thanks so much for stopping by.”
“I always preferred Julius Caesar to Romeo and Juliet,” he says.
I gasp and put my hand to my forehead in swooning disappointment. “Et tu, Brute? You would prefer Julius Caesar.”
“Why is that?”
“I don’t know… you’re all Dead Poets Society with your guy power, and your fight against injustice and your strength in the wake of epic tragedy.”
While he defends all things manly and brutal, it occurs to me that at our young age, we have been introduced to the classics together. We have fallen in love or hate with each one of them. We’ve theorized about them in papers together. In the years that Ryan and I have known each other, music became important to us. We learned together how it can speak to us, how it can affect us. In fact it is starting to seem that every song written contains a secret sonnet meant for us, the music is composed for us. There might be no emotion more intense than young emotion.
“You know what,” I say, seeming rudely out of the blue, I’m sure, as he defends his love for Julius Caesar. “I do believe love is possible at our age. More than possible.”
“Probably possible,” Ryan says, “But not recommended.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know,” he says, looking far off down the dark road like he’s thinking about something he can’t quite understand. “My Dad’s always warning me that you and I shouldn’t get so serious about each other. Do your parents ever...” he pulls more pine needles down with his fingers, “… ever tell you that maybe you should date other people?”
It wasn’t easy hearing that his Dad had been suggesting that he see other people. I think of how his Dad recently grilled hot dogs for us in their backyard and gave me a gorgeous purple iris, cut from his flower bed, and I decide that I won’t take it personally.
“I think my parents are pretty thrilled that I have been found worthy of and am willing to return the affections of a good boy such as you,” I say. “There’s a sort of relief that comes over their faces when I tell them I’m going out with you, like they have a lot of trust in you.”
“Trust?” His breath comes through his teeth in a whispered, humorless laugh. “There are people who would say a teenage boy shouldn’t even trust himself.”
“Are you saying that you don’t trust yourself?”
“I know I wouldn’t ever want to disrespect you,” he says, but then with a wicked raise of the eyebrow he says, “But no, I can’t say that I always trust myself to be a perfect gentleman when I’m around you.”
The suggestion sets my heart to pounding. I subconsciously move closer to the screen of my window.
“Hey, you know what?” He asks, trustworthily changing the subject. “You know how our houses have almost the exact same layout? My room is in the same place in my house that your room is in yours. See?” He motions across the street and West a little, to his house. “My room is that window on the corner closest to us.”
I gasp another Romeo and Juliet type of gasp. “I can totally see your bedroom window from mine!”
“I know, I can look out every night and see if you’re asleep yet.”
I get a self-conscious kind of feeling and my eyes dart back and forth. “Your blinds are always closed, Sparky, and I’m still quite a ways away,” he says, shaking his head. “I can only see whether or not your light is on.”
“So when you go home tonight, I’ll wait a minute or two and then I’ll see your bedroom light turn on and I’ll know that’s where you are.” This is quite intimate.
“I’ll turn my light on and off to send you a signal. It will be my way of saying goodnight.”
I love this idea. This idea ranks above roses and love poems.
I revisit my Shakespeare voice to poke fun at his concerns about young love. “Then I will wait here, staring longingly at your bedroom window and pondering over my deep and abiding like for you.”
He smiles that old familiar smile that seems to say, “Amie, you’re going to be the death of me.”