After our second date, Hugo kissed me on the walkway by the mailboxes and that big scraggly bush. And when I went inside and told Harper, she asked if there were fireworks.
“Mmm. Sparklers maybe?”
Sparklers were the warm-up. Fireworks weren’t ’til later.
Like Fourth of July in my grandma’s backyard: Little kids cried and covered their ears and the dog ran under the house and the main event was barely worth the anticipation. It was over before you knew it, smoky clouds and disappointment lingering. And in the morning, there was trash to clean up.
It was whispered with my head buried in his neck, the way important things seem to get said.
“What if I told you everything?”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
I thought it would be harder. But I guess it’s a thing that should never be hard to say, when you mean it.
It’s not explosive. It’s not a pot that boils over constantly, making the flame sputter. It’s not lightening, beautiful but nearly always coupled with rain.
He eats the rest of my breakfast yogurt, and he finishes my falafel sandwich as we sit on someone else’s stoop. Sitting on his sofa in a strapless dress, I’m bent over a silly cable hat I’m knitting, and he kisses my back and shoulders, softly. He knows how hard the day-to-days can be, but he knows how much it’s worth it. We find ourselves in a discussion of travel memoirs that even distracts us from making out. He rolls over in the night, wraps me up in his arms, nuzzles my neck. He believes in things. I look back at him, all chiaroscuro, in a dim movie theater. I wake up early and am ready to drag him out of bed when he, with little effort, pulls me back in. He holds my hand. I look at him.
Maybe a dusk full of fireflies:
It’s quiet. You can’t make anything happen; you just have to wait. It’s rare. It’s comforting and lovely and nearly always a surprise. And if you are patient, you can catch a piece of it in your hands.
So since you guys are all sort of involved, you should go wish this boy a happy birthday.