We were running so fast, and we never looked back. There is this crazy chemistry between us. You met me on a normal night, in a normal place surrounded by normal people. But something about you caught my attention. You carry optimism wherever you go, like the sun peeking through dark stormy clouds. I don’t remember the first thing I ever said to you, but I’m sure it was dumb. You didn’t mind. We make a really good team, though not everyone sees. Our friendship quickly evolves.
On the Fourth of July you invite me to go to our town’s firework show together. I say, “I’ve never gone to watch the fireworks.” You gasp at this, insisting that I have to go. How could I say no? The July night is warm, and together we sit in the lush green grass away from the crowd. The moon is bright silver, illuminating both of our faces. We wait in anticipation, breathing in sync. And then suddenly the sky is lit up by a brilliant flash of white. I gasp, each boom and flash in perfect rhythm, almost like a heartbeat. Fireworks erupt from left and right, painting the sky shades of red and blue. I manage to steal a glance at you, and find myself not able to look away.
You look so beautiful in the bright color-stained light. I want to say something crazy--something, anything. Something about how amazing you are, how great you look. How you make my stomach flutter. How every time our eyes meet I never want to look away. I want to grab your hand. Hold it tight and never let go. But I don’t say anything. I don’t know how to express any of this to you. What are these feelings called? Maybe I can ask you someday. But for now all I do is sit with you under the shooting stars.
Every weekend you come over to my house. I always worry we’ll have nothing to do, but you’re full of ideas. This weekend you bring a soccer ball, even though I’ve told you a thousand times that I’m bad at sports. We go out to the green field behind my house and start to kick the ball around. You always laugh when I miss it, but all I can think about is how great you look playing. Our game doesn’t last very long, and instead I spend the rest of the afternoon watching you shoot goals at random objects. “You’re so good at soccer,” I say, and you’ve never looked prouder.
After that you decide to join our school’s soccer team. I go to your first game, and can’t help but notice how much fun it looks like you’re having. There’s this girl on your team that you talk to a lot. You two seem close, I wonder who she is. I want to congratulate you after the game, but when I see you laughing with her I decide not to. I suddenly feel sick. You don’t come over on the weekends anymore. Now you have soccer games instead.
I see you in the halls a lot with her. I still don’t know her name, and for some reason I don’t really want to. Whenever we pass you always smile, and for a moment I want to say something. Ask you how your day has been, if you’d like to walk home together. But then you walk past, usually with that girl. I find myself purposely avoiding the main hallways just so I don’t see you with her. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. What’s wrong with us.
Then one night you call me. I instantly know something is wrong. “You’re the only one I could call,” you say. In an instant I’m at your house, in your room. The sight of you crying breaks my heart. We sit together in your room for a while, my arms around you.
“It’s okay,” I say, “I’m here for you.” You never tell me what happened, and I never ask. I stay the night, and it almost feels like before. I don’t want to leave.
You don’t talk to the girl anymore. Soccer season is over, and everything seemingly returns back to normal. I couldn’t be more relieved. Except, something is different. You seem quieter, more cautious. I find myself mindlessly driving past your house, as if hoping you’ll be waiting outside. One Saturday morning I finally stop. You open the door right away. “Would you like to go get some coffee?” I ask, and you quickly agree.
We end up driving around the city, stopping here and there to take a silly photo or look in a shop. The afternoon passes by, and we find ourselves not wanting to go back. “Let's stay the night,” you say. We make a home out of a three-star hotel. We stay up late laughing at stupid jokes and talking about life. I sit across from you, and it gives me a chance to study your every feature. I’m entranced by your eyes, enchanted by the sound of your voice, and weak to your words. Your blunt question catches me off guard.
“Do you know what love is?” You ask me. My breath catches in my throat. Suddenly everything I’ve kept inside comes rushing back. In reality, it never left.
“Yes,” I answer after a moment. “I think I do.” My body moves without thinking, and when ours lips meet I finally have an answer. All I need is you.
You don’t have to say I love you to say I love you.