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The Fading Dream
"You know what? I think I'll get off here too.” My insides jumped for joy as he followed me off the 305 bus and onto the sidewalk. I mentally prayed that my face didn’t show how I was feeling, wanting to look calm and collected.
“Dean!” I had looked up to see him dart into the street. A speeding Lexis honked with no real intention of trying to slow down or avoid him. “Dean!” He pulled back at the last possible second and I watched as the Lexis sped past thinking how easily it could have ended the day. He laughed seeing the worried expression on my face. I punched him in the arm but his fluffy winter jacket all but absorbed the force of my attack.
“Calm down. You still live in the same house right?” I nodded not fully trusting myself to speak. I made him wait until traffic was clear before we crossed the street together and we begun the two-block walk to my house. I followed behind him seeing how well his memory would serve him to getting back to my house. The entrance of the parking lot, as usual, was cover in a thick layer of ice. Even wearing my black snow boot my ability to maintain my balance was pathetically low. I stuck my arms out in an attempt to stay upright. I looked down at the ice not noticing he was watching me. “What are you doing?” Looking up at his face, I could tell he wanted to laugh.
“I’m trying not to fall.” Anyone else would have taken my tone as annoyed but he only laughed some more. I pouted sticking out my bottom lip as I inched my way across the ice. “It’s not my fault I have bad balance.” Glad that the icy winds had already turning my cheeks red I got across the large patch of ice. We continued walking. When we got to another small patch of ice, he took one step and his shoe cracked the ice sinking into the water trapped below it. “Haha you shouldn’t have laughed at me.” I got to the next ice patch when he grabbed my arms and faked as if he was going to push me. I screamed thinking I was going to fly into the snow pile next to me. His laughing was the only thing I could hear. I tried to turn around to punch him but he had a good grip on my arms.
“Come on, let me go.” He faked as if he was going to push me a few more times, each time with me screaming and him laughing. He let me go to walk on my own. Just when I thought the worse was over, he grabbed me again and I screamed. “Come on I’m serious. I don’t want to fall.” I could feel his warm breath on my ear.
“Don’t you trust me?” I broke free of his gasp and looked up at his grinning face.
“Not at the moment.” He laughed with that cute grin on his face. We got to the corner and he stopped looking around. “Um… I don’t know where it is.” I smiled taking his hand.
“Come on, I live one block over.” When we were by the corner house, he grabbed me and I screamed getting the attention of the people who lived there. I blushed and quickly got out of his grasp. “If you don’t stop I won’t talk to you ever again.” That did it because he didn’t try to push me anymore. We turned onto my block and he put his arm around should just above my backpack. I bit the corner of my lip to keep from jumping up and down. It was what I had waited for since that summer so long ago. It was comfortable walking with him like that.
“So how’s Kim?”
“She’s grown a lot since the last time you saw her.” My mind drifted back to long summer days of baseball and parks and pop. “She misses you.”
“I miss her too.” I thought for a moment. “Danny’s gotten bigger; in fact he’s almost as tall as me.” We moved to the side to let my neighbors walk in the opposite direction. All too soon, my house came into view. I hopped up the stairs Danny opening the door before I could get my keys. I tossed my backpack inside and looked back to him.
“Hey walk me to the corner.” Happy for any reason to stay with him a while longer I closed the door behind me and walked down the stairs. He put him arm back around me and we slowly walked to the corner. When we did we looked west, at the setting sun. The sky was beautiful shades of orange and red. He got behind me wrapping both arms around my stomach with my arms resting gently on top. “My god, I’ve missed you.” Again, his breath tickled my ear and his voice was quiet. I leaned back into his warm embrace trying to get away from the chilly winds.
“I’ve missed you too.” My voice was soft, unsure to finally tell him how I felt. We stood a while in silence watching the sunset. We turned and walked slowly back towards my house. My neighbor had a huge ice patch in front of his house and I slowed to a stop in front of it. Dean grinned and picked me up throwing me over his shoulder.
“Is this that hard?” He walked back and forth across the ice with ease. I pounded his back but it didn’t seem to effect him.
“Put me down.” I gave up hitting him and laid there.
“Why should I? You’re so light.”
“Please.” He placed me gently down in front of me and gave me a hug. I rested my head on the front of his shoulder. “How are you so warm?” I mumbled more to myself. I felt the safest I had ever felt since the ‘incident’. I would have been happy standing there forever but part of me knew I had to go soon. It killed me to say it but I whispered, “I have to go.”
“Why?” I closed my eyes thinking of a reason that mattered enough to leave this comfort.
“It’s getting late. My parents will be home soon.” Even though the words ere leaving my mouth I didn’t want to believe them. He knew and continued to hold me. Another 10 minutes passed and I pulled back to look at his face. “I really have to go.” He leaned down and I felt his warm lips kiss my cheek. I went into shock and closed my eyes. Never in a million years did I ever think he would kiss me. He took that moment to kiss me gently on the lips. I put my hand on his chest and dropped my head. “If I don’t go now, I’ll never want to go.” He let me go and that goofy grin was back on his face. “You have to go, you know my mom hates you.” He started to walk off and stopped when I was halfway up the stairs. “Go.”
“I don’t want to go home.” I got the top of the stairs and looked once more at Dean before I went into the house.
“Neither do I.” I leaned against the door and put my hand to my lips. I could still feel where his had connected with mine. I couldn’t quite process what had just happened. I never knew that was his way of saying good-bye forever.