One Night Long Ago

He was unusually restless that night. In fact, he was more so than he could remember being in a long time. He lay there, looking up at the ceiling of his girlfriend’s apartment she shared with her mother. She lay there, also. However, she was happily asleep and laying on left side, facing away from him.
At the moment, he was running the day’s events in his mind. He liked the day that it had been. He had gotten along quite well with his girlfriend that day. He was glad when that happened because, truth be told, he really cared for her and wanted only good things for their relationship. Of course, their was always that overshadowing seed of doubt. He’d always think about the first few weeks of their relationship. It had been somewhat awkward and troubling.
He was only 17 when they met. She was 16 and he fell in love with her, immediately. He’d heard of love at first sight before but didn’t know what it was until he met Her. Unfortunately, they were, after all, both very young and with youth comes naivety and arrogance. He remembers telling Her that he didn’t believe in love and hated love songs. She, in turn, responded with a like comment. He regretted that conversation most of all. It seemed to him to have set the overall feeling for the rest of their relationship. And it was a feeling of angst and anguish. In the end, this would be the greatest cause of their split.
Thus, he felt he could never really tell her how he felt and still retain some integrity with Her. After all, he valued Her opinion more than anyone’s on the planet. If She thought poorly of him, then there must be something wrong with him. It was all his limited mind with limited experience could surmise from the situation. It was inaccurate and almost tragic.
For the moment, though, he could be happy. He had gotten along well with Her, today. They had watched movies together and played card games. She smiled that sweet honey cinnamon smile at him. They laughed together and talked and they felt at ease in other’s company. He liked this. He always felt he could be comfortable with Her. At the same time, he thought that She must’ve felt the same because She’d tell him things sometimes. Private things. Secret things that a girl would usually keep to herself at al costs. She told him she wanted to be a model and an artist. He only listened, intently, as though he were hearing an angel speak.
He smiled to himself in the bed. He wanted to put his arm around Her and hold Her while she slept. He wanted this more than anything. But, then, the fears would rush in. “Would she think I’m trying to just use her for physical reasons?” “Would she respect me that much less for showing gentleness?” Later in life, he would kick himself for worrying so greatly about such things. Presently, however, he worried she’d be mad for imposing his touch on Her.
He lifted a hand and with fingers outstretched, held it only an inch from her back. It was as though he were feeling the heat of a soft fire. He thought he would burn if he dared to try to touch the gentle flames. Instead, he hoisted himself up onto his left arm and leaned over Her, still not daring to touch Her.
Then, out of nowhere and with no seeming cause, he reflexively reached out his right hand and caressed Her right cheek. She was so beautiful, sleeping there. He couldn’t resist, he thought. That must’ve been why he was brazen enough to touch his angel. She didn’t react at first. Then, a moment or two passed and she stirred, slightly. She was waking!
He laid back down, instantly. “How could I be so stupid?!” His mind raced as he lay there in a deep fear she would wake and tell him to leave for laying a hand on her. He was horrified. What the hell is going on? She is his girlfriend. They had been going out for a few months, now. He should be able show his love for Her, shouldn’t he? He couldn’t understand how this situation had evolved like this. All he wanted to do was say, “Baby, I love you.” Simple. Easy. It would change everything if he could only say it. Every dynamic of their relationship would be totally changed and a great burden could be lifted off both their shoulders. If only he would just say it. “Baby, I’m in love with you.” He thought about it too much, he concluded. He worried too much. Well, then, fuck it. He would tell her tomorrow. He would and they could shake free of the albatross of youth and finally be happy. Tomorrow, he thought. Then, another thought occurred to him. He always told himself he’d tell her in the morning. How many nights has he laid there next to this beautiful creature emotionally impotent? How often has he been on the verge of revealing his love for her only to be subdued by his fear?
No. Not this time. This time, he’ll tell her. He’ll tell her and she’ll see. They’ll finally be able to be happy together. Everyday will be better than the last because she’ll realize that, in the end, she loves him, too. She’ll see that really are soul mates and they should not lie to one another about their feelings. Yeah, tomorrow. Everything will be different tomorrow. He smilled softly to himself and turned his head, only to see the back of Hers. Her long hair draped to the mattress which supported that gorgeous orb. He thought, “She’s so beautiful,…will she think I’m weak or cowardly if I…”

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