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Maybe in a Dream

It was never hard to wake up.
There was always the rosy shade of dawn suspended in the grey sky like a half-finished painting, its light working as an alarm clock. By 7:30AM, I had jogged down my stairs, wondering when I would see him that day—on the way or at the alcove?
I got my bagel from the KIVO and slipped into the alcove, a round room sticking out from the rest of the cafeteria. I smiled as I sat down because Danny was already there, spreading his cream cheese on his onion bagel. We exchanged a quick word of ‘Hello-goodmorning-howareyou.’ Every day without fail, he gave me a hug and a brilliant smile.
This was a quiet time. We never said more than a few words of conversation as we chewed through our bagels together. But his eyes would be on me, and he’d slip his hands against mine a few times. We were alone in the usually crowded alcove, and this quiet dawn always felt deeper and more infinite with just us.
It was never hard to wake up with that to look forward to.
But the moment always broke too early. Sophie showed up with her plate of fruit by 8:00AM, wrapped her arm around me, and gripped my hand with the perfunctory duty of the girlfriend. We exchanged dry hellos and Danny left the table to leave us alone. Too soon, too quickly.
That never felt right. That was never right.

Danny and I were best friends months before it happened.
We met at CTY [summer camp] in 2011, but over the course of the year, we became closer. We texted daily and talked for hours on Skype. It was a lot simpler back then; there was nothing to talk about but cats on the internet.
One day, I don’t know how we got on the topic, but we were talking about relationships. I had just taken out the trash and when I returned to check my phone, I saw a text waiting for me as always. But I wasn’t expecting this: ‘Ok. How about I ask you? Will you go out with me, Logan?’
For a moment, I was taken aback. Was he joking? Was he serious? Did he actually like me? And what about me? Did I like him? More I considered it, the mental picture surging forth was actually… well, surprisingly nice.
I typed without even thinking, ‘I think a relationship between us would work.’
The reply: ‘Hahaha ok. I mean, that was mostly a joke, but I do like you.’
We weren’t going to date then, but a nagging question had crept into my mind: what if. What if we started dating right then and there? What if I realised I liked him earlier? What if…
At that moment, however, I convinced myself I were straight; a single mental image wasn’t going to change who I thought I was. I just told myself, Nah, Logan, liking other guys—that’s what other people do, not you, and I pushed the matter out of my mind.

July 15th, 2012, and we arrive at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I admit, I was nervous to see him in the flesh after spending a year apart. There was a strange confrontational feel accompanying the physical presence, rather than a virtual one. When he rushed into a squeezing hug on that first day, I felt my heart jump.
Now, I recognise the signs of love and how it feels to be in a relationship I truly care for. If I could go back, I would’ve recognised that jump as excitement, but I mistook it for fear back then.
At CTY, three weeks feel like 365 days. Events happen too quickly, people change too fast, and you learn too much. It’s overwhelming and I never have time to think.
The first week went by in a rush, and two best friends gazed at each other from across the dance hall, the air between them charged with a sad tension.
As Sophie wrapped her arms tighter around me, I was reminded of how artificial our relationship felt. I spent those three weeks beating myself up. I could’ve said no, but I wouldn’t out of my own indecisiveness. I allowed myself to be lead by peer pressure.
That was my big mistake.
Danny repeated dull, fake statements of ‘Oh I’m happy for you,’ but he drifted away from me whenever she was near, sulking.
Sophie pushed me to do activities together in the bushes during Quad Time, but I kept insisting on going to Schnader Lounge, where I knew Danny would be. He would drift away as usual, but I could be close to him, just for a moment… I had to juggle my time between Danny and Sophie, and Sophie, unfortunately, was winning.
And the best part: I couldn’t go to my best friend for help because my best friend was freaking Danny. How ironic.

The first letter I sent to Danny had only two things: a big drawing of a waffle in the middle and a ‘I love you.’
When Danny and I walked with about a dozen other CTYers to farmer’s market on a warm Sunday morning, we made sure to stop at the ice cream parlour. Danny spotted the waffle ice cream on the menu and declared that he must have one. I said I would share it with him so I waited in a quiet corner while he got the order.
He came back with two forks and a scoop of hazelnut ice cream sandwiched between two belgian waffles, cut neatly in half. He flashed me a smile as he sat down and said, ‘Hey Logan, the dude asked me if I would like another fork and the waffle split in half, and gave me a look. He totally thought we were dating.’
I had to suppress my overwhelming joy. We were nothing but friends at the moment with an awkward tension beginning to rise, too—it was a few days after I had started going out with Sophie. I felt happy that Danny and I looked like a couple. Even just spending time together as friends felt more genuine, and sharing that waffle felt weirdly intimate, which was more than the long make out sessions with Sophie.
Since that day, the waffle became a symbol of our friendship and the times we shared together. Hence, the letter.
I could’ve kissed him that day at farmer’s market, but I still refused myself the pleasure of realising my affection for the boy.
Again, the moment ended too quickly. The second week of CTY rolled in and Danny got involved with Caleb. I know I had no business being jealous, but there was no doubt I was. I tried to get his attention and went to almost all the same activities as him in the afternoons, but just as Danny drifted away when Sophie was there, I began to drift away the same way when Caleb showed up. I had to juggle my time between Sophie, Danny with Caleb, Danny without Caleb, other friends, classes, and… and…
I had no idea what I was doing.

It wasn’t until September 22nd that Danny and I began to date, but it was August 1st when our relationship first started.
That day, almost the entire campus shuffled into the auditorium to watch the classic Italian rip-off Starcrash as a part of the CTY tradition, but by some strange chance, Sophie and Caleb weren’t there. So, naturally, Danny and I sat together. The movie began to play and the crowd laughed raucously at the well-memorised lines from the half-naked Stellar Star and David Hasselhoff, but my head begin to nod. I was so exhausted I was falling asleep at the one of the biggest highlights of camp!
Danny noticed me nodding off. He gently guided my head onto his shoulder and I felt his fingers lace with mine. I didn’t protest, I didn’t even open my eyes. There was nothing more to see, nothing more to hear, nothing more to feel. In that moment, in that sweet half-hour, there was only this. The seats seemed to melt away along with the rest of the auditorium, leaving just us, floating in the dark loneliness. Though the dangers of infinity loomed beyond, I felt no fear and I had no worries. I was safe and comfortable with my head against his shoulder.
When I blinked awake, I was startled to find myself in pure euphoria. I looked up at him and realised I have never felt this way about anyone, or anything. This was love.
I couldn’t deny it anymore. After spending months telling myself that I couldn’t possibly like a guy, I realised I liked Danny more than anyone else. My previous image of myself shattered with this revelation, and I had to pick up the pieces, trying to assemble a new Logan.
It began with a text: ‘Danny. I love you too.’

It wasn’t until after CTY, when relationships forged over three weeks simplified, that I wanted to break off with Sophie and begin one with Danny. I wasn’t about to break hearts.
Therefore it was a painful decision I had to make when Danny came up to me during the last dance of the session. Sophie and I were holding hands, about to get on the dance floor as ‘Iris’ came on. He asked me to dance with him, but Sophie tensed up next to me.
This was the moment I dreaded since the beginning: having to choose between Danny and Sophie. I’ve been able to weasel my way around it, but now it came down to a choice between two uncomfortably simple words: ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
But I could not choose.
Sophie ended up making the decision for me and dragging me away, and it tore me apart to see Danny frozen in shocking despair against the side of the dance floor.
Even after that horrible mistake, I got a chance at redemption. When ‘Forever Young’ came up, signalling the last slow-dance of the summer, Danny came up to me once again. This time, I agreed without hesitation—what I should’ve done before.
Our journey left Sophie and Caleb in the dust. They were heartbroken and left in pieces. Although we all came out as good friends after the storm cleared, when Danny led me by the hand to a spot on the dance floor, I was aware of both Sophie’s and Caleb’s longing gazes.
But none of that mattered at this moment. This moment, right now, I felt nothing but him. The music wrapping together seemed to flow forever. My eyes were closed, but I could see fireworks. When our lips finally met, it was as if a great load was lifted from my chest after having built up for months; it was as if the real Logan were finally free. It felt so real, but so unreal, like a dream unravelling itself at the edge of consciousness.
And I didn’t want to wake up.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Rose. said...
Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm:
OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, I FREAKING LOVE YOU, YOU JUST MADE THIS THE BEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE, MAKE ANOTHER ONE PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAASE
 
J.E.F. replied...
May 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm :
Thank you! I'll try my best, but no guarantees I'll come up with something like this again >.>
 
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