A Moment to Remember

May 6, 2008
By Briley Emerson, Little Rock, AR

You pick up your bags there—so heavy—and you’re worn out. It’s probably only the lack of sleep from what happened the night before, you tell yourself as reassurance. No, remember not to think about it too much. “It probably didn’t even mean anything,” you quietly mumble to yourself. The rush of the August heat outside the dorms is almost unbearable. As you turn around you see a bunch of the guys you met earlier that week from Northwest High School, trying to hit on her. The fact that you would like to walk over and knockout all the guys flirting with her scares you a little bit. Last night really wasn’t suppose to be that big of a deal, you remind yourself. WOW, you think, I sure didn’t see my last church camp experience ending like this.

As the sun starts to set, you look over at her fully knowing she is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. Then that memory reappears, rapidly playing like a movie in your head, once again you smell that deadly intoxicating Chanel perfume that you know wont leave your head, or the inside your nose anytime soon. You remember the adrenaline you felt sneaking around after dark into the girls side of the dorms, and the rush you felt when you saw her. You remember slyly avoiding at least three camp leaders with your spy-like intelligence. Slap yourself; come back to reality! You know darn well it didn’t happen like that! You’re building it up way too much. It’s not like it was some James Bond flick, you scold yourself!

Look over your shoulder slowly one more time if only to just catch another glance at her before going to load the car. She stands there, wearing those signature “skinny jeans” and eyes deep with that same lustful pitch-black eyeliner that attracted you to her in the first place. You catch yourself, with eyes locked on her, running from head to toe. You notice that white triple studded belt worn to the side, and the super tight t-shirt of some band you’ve never even heard of. You see the bags that sweep underneath her slightly oval shaped eyes, and you notice her begin to slouch like a truly exhausted person.

Both of you are tired from the long weekend; taking notes ten hours a day involves more energy than most people might think, you tell yourself trying to take away some of the guilt. The guilt came from doing something you know you shouldn’t have, from getting so close to going too far. From doing what might have felt right and good then, but a few months later could have come back to be a real problem. When she told you to sneak into her room that night after “lights out”, you knew you wouldn’t go all the way through with it. Nevertheless, you also knew that pushing the limits was something that you oddly enjoyed doing lately. Thank God, that good Christian upbringing kicked in right when you needed it the most.

It’s a wonder what no sleep for two straight days does to a person, you think. You give a short smile to her and grab what seems like twenty more pounds of baggage. It’s all worth it when you brush against her and see the quick smile she flashes back at you. You think, maybe this will all work out after all! Once the bags are set down and you’re both inside the car, you start to plan your wedding for the one-millionth time this summer. Thinking, knowing nothing can happen for a few years, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming right?

You come back from cloud nine just long enough to realize she’s talking to you. “So, did you have a good time this weekend,” she asks cautiously. You can tell she’s worried someone will notice what she's really trying to ask you. For some reason you can see right through it this time. You can see that she’s trying to ask if you liked what happened, as much as she did.
“Yeah, the speakers were pretty good, and I got a lot of information,” you answer quickly moving your eyes forward to make sure she doesn’t see the joy deep in them. Keep avoiding the real question, just to tease her. It’s funny to see her get all worked up over it.

You both try to sleep countless times through the “solid gold oldies” that are blaring in the background of the car. You see she’s still awake too, scoot closer quickly before the moment’s gone. As you slide your hand next to hers, she giggles. You know she’s just laughing at your naivety, but it almost doesn’t even matter. Then you start to feel yourself blush; quickly try to hide it from her. You wonder if she sees how nervous you really are in the color that’s beaming from your cheeks. Maybe she didn't see because of the darkness in the car, you think to yourself. You freeze; you’ve never actually cared what a girl thought, but now every movement counts. She grabs your hand, and for some reason it surprises you. You can feel her heart beating faster and faster through the heat of her palm.
“I really like this song,” she whispers in your ear. Then before you know it, you’re both attempting to dance in the small space of the backseat. You don’t even care, as long as your palms are still gripped tightly together. After the song stops, so she lets go. You’re both laughing uncontrollably now. You can’t believe you actually danced like that, and in front of her. You act as though you can’t tell that she let go of your hand. The mood goes away. She leans over slowly, as her head falls onto your shoulder. It’s the best feeling you’ve ever felt. You can tell she’s starting to fall asleep now. It’s so hot in this van, you think to yourself as you start to dose off watching the road signs slowly pass by.

The next thing you remember about that night is opening your eyes to the touch of her lips against your cheek saying gently, “wake up.” That one little action makes you feel like the king of the world. The church parking lot is where she had told her mom to pick her up that night after we got back. Now, looking back, you’re glad she needed to ride with you on the way back from the camp.

After you’re done getting her things out of the very back of the car, you glance over at her. Once again, she’s dancing, right in the middle of the parking lot, with the street lamp as her only light. Something about “Beach Baby” and “Build Me Up Buttercup” makes her act so silly and seem so innocent. You quickly take note of that in your head. Who knows? You ask yourself quietly. It could come in handy one of these days. You see her reaching out to you. Just dance, you tell yourself, just go. Everything around you starts to spin as you twirl her under your arm. You think, Wow the people passing by probably think were both mental. But, you don’t even care that much. As long as she’s there, you could conquer the world.

As soon as the song ends, her mom pulls up in that big red truck that would likely be labeled as a big rig in most other states. You pick up one of her bags and throw it in the car. Good lord, you think to yourself, that women must smoke a whole lot.

You turn around; she hugs you before getting in the car. You want to kiss her before letting go, you want to not have to ever let her go at all, but you have to just for now. You think to yourself, if anyone saw us like that; we wouldn’t have near as much freedom together as we do now. You know all this, but yet for some reason you still wish you had kissed her before letting go. You think, the regret will never go away. You wish you could have had just one more perfect moment with here, just one more time that night.

Wave good-bye before she’s completely out of sight and pretend that you’re not going to spend every waking moment from now until Wednesday wondering what she’s thinking about, what she’s doing, and if she will ever think of you, the way you think of her. Not knowing at the time that the next time you see her, a year later, she’ll be back into everything that she left behind at the beginning of that summer. That summer that now seems so, so long ago.

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