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Live in the Moment
Everyone knows that feeling when you first realize how much you like another person. Your face gets hot, your palms get sweaty, your knees feel weak, and no matter how hard you try the right words never come out. It’s like trying to tell someone you’re drowning but can’t get enough air to do so. In that case, I was drowning at the bottom of the ocean.
I met him in elementary school, the only love we knew then was what we shared with our parents. It was almost strange how instantly we had become best friends like two magnets that had been separated finally finding each other. We told each other everything. Of course at that time our biggest secret was who stole the green crayon, but that was how it all started. The green crayon became who dated who, what was going on at home, and so on. We knew that one of us would always be there for the other. His shoulder was always there if I needed to cry on it and I was always ready to make him smile if he was feeling down. That’s what best friends are for.
Our friendship didn’t end as we made our way to Junior High and High School; in fact, it brought us closer than ever. Our days of tag and hide seek turned into long hugs and late night conversations. That’s when friends started to tease and joke about us being more than friends, but we weren’t ready for that. Or at least, I wasn’t. At the time my parents were going through a nasty divorce so my thoughts on a relationship with someone were close to zero. Besides, he was my best friend it would’ve just been weird, right?
My problem was that I didn’t understand my feelings; I didn’t know what a real relationship was. Was it suppose to be like in the cartoons, was my heart suppose to pump out of my chest when I saw him and little stars float in my eyes when I smiled at him? I went to one of my girlfriends about it and she gave me an extravagant story. She told me that I had to give him the key to my heart, trust him entirely, and a bunch of other things that sounded like something Cinderella’s fairy godmother would’ve said. She was completely in love with the idea of love, while I still didn’t understand the whole concept. A relationship between us that was any more than friends seemed unnecessary, so I kept it to myself.
It was about a year later during what seemed like the hottest summer the world has ever seen that my hidden feelings came rushing to the surface. It was a blazing hot and crazy busy day at the Goodelle’s fairgrounds. Everyone was a sweaty mess but the kids still managed to run around screaming to go on more rides and to see the ponies. I was making my rounds for my own horses that were stabled there, cleaning stalls and fetching water. I was out of breath by my third round for water when his dad asked if I had seen him. We were at fair together just about every year but this year was different, we were older.
I took up the task of searching for my lost friend starting at the cow barns. His family had always brought their cows and with the horse barns and the cow barns not being but a few feet apart we got to see each other every day during fair. It was our own little fairy tale, we were neighbors.
By time I got through the first musty cow barn without any luck of finding him I was drenched in a sticky sweat and smelt like a mix of hay and manure. I didn’t really care; it was the heat that bothered me the most. I ended up taking off my red flannel and tying the sleeves around my waist. Wearing ripped jeans and a dirty black tank top, the sun was still unbearable. I found his cow tied in her shoot, happily chewing on a mouthful of hay. I patted her dusty side as I walked up to check her water which looked like it was recently filled so he couldn’t have gone too far.
I was just about to head back to my barn when I saw a familiar boot sticking out behind the wall of the shoot. I looked over the wall to find him passed out on a bail of straw and covered in what I hoped was mud. My first thought was, how could I mess with him? The hose used for filling the cow’s water buckets was tied onto the side of the barn and conveniently ran right over top of him. I had to be careful not to wake him as I undid the hose and turned it on. The icy water only had to strike him in the chest for a second and he was on his feet faster than I could turn the water off. His initial shock turned into never ending laughter as he tackled me into the straw. He made sure to stick as many pieces as he could into my hair.
This playful act was a normal thing between us, but as I lay there in the straw with him still sliding pieces of straw behind my ear I started to notice something. I noticed the curve of his jaw line and the small signs of facial hair starting to come in. I noticed how blue his eyes were as he stared at me and how even though his curly, light brown hair was matted every which way, it still looked cute to me. I noticed how calm I was as we just sat in the straw together, and then all at once, like someone had cranked the heat as high as it could go, I felt my face start to get hot. He had seen it before I even knew what to do. As he got up and held his hand out for me I could see his cheeks flaming too.
He said something that made me laugh, probably something about how crazy my hair looked, but I had forgotten all about the straw in my hair as he pulled me into a tight hug. We both smelt terribly of a day’s work but it didn’t matter. I didn’t know why we were hugging and I didn’t question it because as we did, it was like time stood still. There was nothing in the world besides the feeling of his arms around my waist and my head on his shoulder; it was a moment unlike any other. It was in that moment that we both knew. We knew how much the other cared and suddenly I wasn’t drowning anymore. I didn’t need the right words, I only needed this moment.
In case you’re wondering, it was like in the cartoons when your heart pumps out of your chest and little cupids fly above your head. I know because when he looked at me with that smile it was as if sparks were flying through me. Right then I didn’t care what happened afterwards or a year from then, but isn’t that what life is all about? Living for moments like this one, one’s that take your breath away? We left that barn hand in hand, simply laughing and talking as we always had. We might still be too young to know what love is all about, but I know he will always be my best friend and I love him as much as any best friend should.