By the time I finished more than an hour passed. When I finally reappeared in the living room, he found both cold beers in the refrigerator and The Best Years of Our Lives, which he watched intently, as if viewing it for the first time. I likewise snagged a beer and curled next to him without a word, tucking my feet against me on the opposite side from him. We watched the rest of the movie, kissing when they kissed, and then intending to leave for his house. My feet fell asleep, so when I attempted to stand, I remained for a moment. He recognized my inability to put any weight upon them and used the time to excuse himself down the hall. For once, I didn’t feel awkward, and maybe that was his subtle ability. Perhaps I finally learned how to be completely comfortable in his midst.
My feet pricked and tingled as the blood returned to my toes. The sensation wasn’t unique to my lower extremities, though, as my self confidence coursed through me. My lips hadn’t forgotten their technique, but they languished, unused for too long. And pounding excitedly, my heart shared the feeling of being replenished, although I think it started several days earlier and now finally delighted in its freedom to requite his kindness. I still noticed my shortcomings, my clumsiness in being able to put weight on my foot, my partially unpacked apartment, and my previous track record with men, but those foibles seemed lessened now that he saw past them. I inched to the edge of the oversized chair we shared and felt ready to stand on my own when he returned and immediately offered his hand.
“You know that speech you made, about my not taking your hand?” He paused and as I got to my feet, I interrupted him. He may or may not have finished his thought, but I wanted to clarify my point.
“I did not mean to criticize anything you did or didn’t do this weekend. I was trying to be unfazed by the fact that our weekend was ending, and in truth, I didn’t want it to be over.” It still amused me how he returned to conversations more than two hours old.
“On the contrary, what you said made a lot of sense. And for the record, having spent a weekend with you, doing all those wonderful and even the horrible things you said, I very much want to have you as my friend.” He followed up his admission with a kiss that confirmed platonic friendship was not an option.
He picked up my bag, touched my still damp hair, and walked me to the door. The sun already set behind the mountains when I closed and locked my apartment a few minutes later. I didn’t realize it at that moment, but I would never sleep there again.
NEXT: The Cabin – Part 79