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Falling

By , San Ramon, CA
Jared and I have been friends for years and we know each other, really know each other but, what is this feeling I get lately when I ‘m near him lately? Why do I feel like I’m falling?

We go to the summer carnival. There are rides and games and look, it’s the Ferris wheel. And the gondola that carries us seems smaller than when I went in it with my brother before and I wonder why does my chest tighten when Jared leans over and looks out the window, just like a little kid. But his enthusiasm is infectious and soon we’re both pointing things out in the lights because, somehow, our morning talk at the tree turned out to be a whole day of being a kid with him until the lights of the fair needs to go on. “We should get some cotton candy,” I tell him and to this he says, “After we go on that.” And he’s pointing at this tall ride that spins and I tell him I’m getting sick just looking and he laughs and I laugh. “Fine,” he says. “We’ll get cotton candy.” I look at him and look out at the lights and say, “Let’s go on that,” and he looks at what I’m pointing at and it’s a kiddy ride with flying ladybugs. He smiles and says, “Cool.”
And I smile. He thinks it’s cool.

We go on that ladybug ride, squeezing close together because Jared is big and bulky and muscular and beautiful and I can’t help but feel extremely close together. But we laugh because we’re the oldest ones on it and we can’t breathe because we’re laughing so hard and we fall off the ride laughing and we’re still giggling while we get cotton candy. He gets blue and I get pink and he reaches over and pulls a puff of cotton candy off mine so I pull some of his blue cotton candy and we look at each other as the cotton candy melts in our mouths and we laugh and I’m melting and falling. I’m melting into the hot summer air and I find myself falling for him.

We stay at the carnival and play games and suck at them but Jared keeps playing until he wins a stuffed animal from each stall and has blown over a hundred dollars. I get a pathetic little insect with big sad eyes and Jared looks at it but I tell him I’m proud of it. He smiles at me and hands me his biggest stuffed animal, a fluffy gray dog with a red ribbon tied around its neck. “Are you sure?” I ask him. He smiles and I’m still falling but why is it that no matter how much I'm falling I'm not tripping and the thought gets wiped away by his laugh.

The carnival starts emptying out and the sky gets darker and I notice there’s no moon. I tell Jared how empty the sky looks without the moon and looks up and says in a disconnected kind of voice, “Yeah. It does, huh?” And I’m looking at him looking up at the sky and I feel this strange urge to do something that might ruin the best friendship I’ve ever had in my life. I gulp and stand on my tiptoes and close my eyes and gently press my lips against his cheek. I feel him tense and pull away and he looks down at me and asks, “What was that for?” I look away meekly. “You went on the ladybugs with me.” And he stares at me and I get awkward so I start walking but he drops his stuffed animals and grabs my elbow and I drop my insect and his dog and my face is against his hard muscular chest and I’m breathing in his smell and, stupid, why is my heart pounding like this? And he brings his hand up and rests it on my neck under my hair and his thumb brushing my cheek and I look up at him and he brings his lips down to mine and—

Jared kisses me and I kiss him and wow . . . just wow.

“Are you falling too?” I ask him, still in his arms because he won’t let go and I just have to know and Jared pulls away just enough to show me his bright beautiful smile and he doesn’t even have to ask because he knows me better than anyone and he knows what I mean so he says, “Yeah. I’m falling.” And I brush my lips against his and wow and say, “Me too.”





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