Bliss, and Other Words People Might Make Fun Of
Day 2,714ish (still)
It doesn’t matter where we are when we are together. We’re always wrapped in a single blanket. We’re always tucked away in a little corner. The lights are always dim, the music is always soft and romantic, and he is always the only person I can see. Tonight it’s in his sister’s basement. We’ve talked with Tash and her family, we’ve laughed and we’ve watched movies, sitting side by side, enjoying the renewed sensation of our hand-holding. It’s late, and the rest of the world is tired. I don’t seem to get tired anymore. Sleep means hours away from Ryan. I do it only because it’s required for survival.
I think he does it because it’s the right thing. Say goodnight. Pat my shoulder. Take me to the guest room. Close the door nice and tight. Walk down the hall to the couch with his blanket and his pillow. Lay there. Stay there. I wonder if it’s at all hard for him.
He goes to a hall closet to get bedding for that temporary couch/bed. I stay sitting on the place where he’ll soon be sleeping. I lay my hand on the spot where his rustled, boyish head will be. The lights upstairs turn off one by one. The house grows silent around us. The screen of the TV is blue in the cozy family room and the light from the hallway reveals Ryan’s silhouette as he comes back, carrying a stack of quilts and pillows. He plops the blankets near my feet and falls to his knees beside them.
I’m a girl and maybe not one of the subtle ones when it comes to speaking my feelings. I could say goodnight, be demure. Wait for this used-to-be-totally-successful-womanizer turned carefully-standoffish-returned missionary to either swoop me into a passionate embrace sometime in the next three months or stun me with an out of the blue trip to the office of a travel agent to plan the honeymoon that I had no idea was a consideration.
“About that little stop we made at the ring store earlier,” I say.
His expression wishes it could warn me not to ask, but knows I probably deserve to ask why I was suddenly ambushed with sparkling dreams, when I had resigned myself to a tortoise pace and a maybe never gonna happen.
Now that I plowed in and brought it up though, where to go exactly? “Sorry I freaked out. Can we please go back? Hold my hand, put a diamond on it. What’s the difference really? You can feel free to do either one of those things any time and in any order you want to.”
I end up with, “I really am glad you took me there. I was just a little shocked. We haven’t really talked about our feelings very much.”
“Yeah, let’s just forget about that for awhile. We can take our time.”
What have I done?
“No! No, I don’t want to forget it. I want to know why you took me there. I want to know how you feel about me.”
“I can’t talk about that.”
“It’s just not time. It’s not something I planned to do. It’s too fast.”
“It’s not too fast for me. How can there be a wrong time to tell somebody how you feel?”
He looks at the ground, closes his eyes, shakes his head. It gives me a second to ask myself what the heck I think I’m doing. I’ve somehow become the girl I promised myself I wouldn’t be. I’m practically begging him. I need to shut up and back up.
He lifts his head. He’s still on his knees in front of me, so he’s looking right into my eyes when he says, “I’ve thought about this. If I tell you how I feel, then I’m gonna want to kiss you and if I kiss you then there’s no going backwards, it’s just full speed ahead and…”
I lift my hand to stop him. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked. I did not plan on rushing anything. Stupid, stupid idea. Forget I said anything.”
He grabs my shoulders, slides a little closer. “No. I want to tell you. Every day, I want to tell you. How can I stop myself when you ask me to tell you?”
I wrinkle my nose, looking like a chastised school that’s only sorry for what her cuteness won’t get her out of.
He takes a breath. “Amie, since that day in the eighth grade when I saw your picture and found out you were moving back to Ferron, and probably even before that, I’ve wanted to be with you. I know I said I’d date people, but it’s hard because I just want to spend all of my free time with you. Being with you just makes sense. It feels right. Amie, I love you.”
He takes my face in his hands and he kisses me. The ever-successful-womanizer is still alive and well inside Ryan Edward, concealed just below the surface. Being out of practice does not diminish his set of skills even a bit. If anything, the forbidden fruit just got a little sweeter.
The kiss bursts with more emotion than any kiss from our past. It’s passionate, but controlled because we’ve come too far and we’re now too close to spoil what we’ve waited for. What we’re dealing with now is so much bigger than chemistry and pheromones. We’re dealing with forever, but the weight of it isn’t on us. It’s under us, lifting us until we could fly.
We break apart at the same time and look at each other, and I’m gonna go ahead and use the word rapture. So what? Rapture. People who don’t like that word probably don’t know how to kiss like Ryan Edward does.
I’m smiling. I can actually feel happiness radiating from my face, all warm and tingly. My voice is a quiet song when I answer him. “I love you too. I can’t believe this is real.” I realize I’m a little out of breath. “This can’t be real, it’s too perfect. It’s everything I ever wanted. It’s everything.”
He’s smiling too. Then we’re kiss-smiling.
He stands and pulls me off the couch, draws me in close, holds my head against his shoulder.
“I’m going to walk you to your room now.”
Strange how I feel every molecule in me dancing around. Strange how the basement hallway is covered in green meadow grass, wild flowers, and singing birds. Strange how every beautiful memory I’ve ever had is culminating and bringing itself to me right now to mix with this, the most beautiful.
The spell isn’t broken, even when he stops at the threshold of the guest room, hugs me once more, gazes into my eyes with a smiling face equaling the radiance of my own, and tells me goodnight, shuts the door nice and tight as predicted and walks back down the hall to make his bed on the couch.
I’m wide awake lying in bed, wondering if he might disappear because of too-perfectness. Rolling his words around and around in my head, knowing they’re mine and nothing can ever, ever take them from me. Deep down, feeling the end of all heartache in my life, the end of loneliness, the end of doubt, the end of trying to make life work without him. The tears were small. Small enough to dry up. Small enough to wash away. How small they were compared to this! Young girls, crying over a boy in your pillows tonight, take a glimpse of a future where one single night makes it all worthwhile. Look to a time you don’t dare imagine when the man of your dreams is brought to his knees, when restraint fails him and he whispers of his love and you share looks that say everything and you know there is a person in the world who feels everything you feel at the exact same time and it is the best kind of euphoria and heaven smiles down on you and sings hallelujah because the two of you made your way through this dark, mixed up world and you brought yourselves to a moment that you know with your heart and soul is so right and good and true. These words sing me to sleep like a love song lullaby, and I dream of seeing his face in the morning.