I was asked a strange, out of the blue question. And I hesitated.
It took me back to the night I stole your soul. In short, I was your first kiss.
Remember, I called you that fall night from my friend’s condo? And you said:
“Hey! You’re in town?”
“No,” I said, baffled. “I’m in the city.”
You laughed. “Tessa, we call the city town too. It’s a city thing. So … can I see you?”
I passed the phone to *Stacia, who gave you directions without compass terms. Basically, “Drive until you see that red sign. Turn right at that restaurant where there’s a bunch of lanes. Take the furthest one to your left. No wait … yeah, left.”
You made it. You drove by the condo. Twice. But you made it.
Where minutes earlier *Jocelyn and *Miranda – on a pizza run – attempted to create a Canadian Dateline moment when they brought over two strangers. A couple guys they’d found walking outside.
How we all survived high school, I have no clue. But, I digress.
It sounds cliché, but when you entered the foyer – my heart flipped. Somersaulted. Palpitated. Your eyes glistened thanks to the chilly autumn air. I don’t recall what happened next. Did I say anything? Did you come upstairs to see the condo? No idea. And seldom do I admit to memory blanks.
We left the condo. That I remember. The coolness of the night. The darkness. The sliver of a moon. The street lights guiding us to your car. You opening my door. Driving around for hours. And hours. You know the rest.
Then we realized how many hours, and we returned to the parking lot. And I pulled the door latch. The interior light came on, and I heard a jingle. I released the latch, and I looked back. You were fiddling with the car keys.
“I don’t want the night to end,” you said. “And I really want to kiss you.”
“Let’s go for a walk,” I said.
We strolled around the condo grounds until nearly three in the morning. When we couldn’t feel our faces, you walked me to the door. And my friends were a tad miffed. Mainly concerned. They’d been searching for me since I was gone so long.
You hugged me goodbye. No goodnight, stomach-dropping, ’til we meet again kiss though.
But those strangers Jocelyn and Miranda brought home on the pizza run? They spent the night. Before they left, Miranda kissed one of them. She never heard or saw him again.
And I wondered if our kiss was meaningless. Did I rush that first kiss? If Miranda kissed a stranger, was I too eager to kiss you? We’d known each other for a month. Was it because the weekend prior you met my parents? Because mom gave you a gold star? A stamp of approval? Was it because you could peg someone’s personality to a T? Was it because you were unlike anyone I’d ever met?
Or was that kiss a notch in my lipstick case. A relationship in a long line of others. Okay, it’s not that long.
Because saying I didn’t fall fast for you would be a lie.
And that oddly timed awkward question? They wanted to know if I didn’t need that second surgery would I have ended our relationship.
I was honest.
And it hurt.
*Names changed for privacy.