Sweet Spring Time Love
He shuffled quietly in the wake of his friends’ babble avoiding waves and hellos from fellow passerbies. He wanted to drown in the anguish that filled his heart. The sun was cheerful this afternoon and its beaming smile beat down on his sweaty brow inviting him to scorn its jolly mood. All around him spring was in bloom as birds sang, flowers blossomed, and couples sang sweet praises to each other in the young afternoon. He looked up hoping to say something to his distant friends but his lips fumbled with the words and he kicked them aside as they fell to his feet. A warm breeze kissed his cheek and whispered soft melodies in his ear. He shuddered and pulled the hood of his sweater over his pitiful expression. A jeering taunt floated back towards him and he looked up scornfully at the ear to ear smiles of his inconsiderate friends. They didn’t know what he was going through nor did they care.
“C’mon Mopy! Jessica’s not around, you don’t have to hide your pretty face.”
He did not appreciate their sarcasm.
“Aww, don’t scowl. It gets in the way of your sweet smile.”
He blushed with anger ready to turn back and hide in a shadowy corner of the cafeteria.
“Alright alright. I’m sorry, let’s go grab some burgers and I’ll buy you a chocolate shake.”
Reluctantly he followed the beckoning hands of his carefree friends still dragging his feet. The car ride was just as entertaining for his friends as the stroll through the parking lot. Careless jokes and laughter were tossed around his head as if they were playing a game of keep away and he was just short of catching the ball. Arriving at the burger stand a heavy sigh escaped from his meek stature as he resumed his post at the back of the bustling group. Smiles and laughter greeted his gloom from every direction as he walked into the lobby of Peewee’s Playhouse. Nostalgia flooded his every sense as burgers sizzled, the smell of golden crisp french fries swam through the air, and the warm touch of the sun prickled the back of his neck. After several degrading minutes in the bustling burger line he found a shady spot under a tree away from all the excitement. Laughter and french fries polluted the air as he drifted into a cloud of his own pity. A picture of simpler times began to play back in his head as he saw a freckle faced boy and a frizzy haired girl sitting on a patch of green grass sharing a pile of fries and a large coke. He saw Jessica’s ten year old face dance with excitement as he dangled french fries from his nose imitating the sounds of a squealing walrus. He saw the beautiful summer sky filled with pirates, dinosaurs, and race cars when all she saw was ponies, flowers, and hearts. He could feel the wind comb through his hair as he rode his bike full speed down Cherry Creek Hill with her giggle fast on his tail. He could taste the bitter cold water of the early spring creek as they dove for shiny rocks. He remembered how easy it was to tell her everything in the world and how much he loved to cheer her up. Then her parents started fighting and he had to watch tears flush her face as they walked together through sunset fields of dandelions. He could hear her whimper in between sobs whenever she called late at night. It wasn’t easy when she moved away and it didn’t get any easier once they stopped talking.
“So tell me what’s on your mind sunshine.”
One of his bright faced friends plopped down next to him and started feasting on his fries. He did not appreciate the sudden interruption that upset his day dream but that didn’t appear to matter as his friend pulled on his arm and dragged him back into the beautiful day. After a handful of unbearably boring minutes with a pack of giddy sophomores he decided it was time to get up and throw his trash away. He hadn’t taken three steps when he felt his muscles lock and a cold shock shoot down his spine. His heart quickened while his breath grew short and desperate. She walked past him with her hair bouncing in the daylight. He felt his palms begin to sweat as he struggled to blink before his eyes dried out. Afraid to move he stood frozen from head to toe. He caught himself recalling that night two weeks ago when she fumbled towards him through a sea of people, tears of joy flooding her face. She stepped back into his life with hugs and sorries glowing like an angel. After several agonizing moments of wishing he was a tree Jessica completed her trip from the patch of grass to the picnic table where her friends rested. A long sigh of relief escaped his quivering lips as he moved freely towards the trash can praying that a rogue french fry would strike him in the eye and he would have to be rushed to a hospital far away from the very spot he was standing in. He watched Jessica with a dreamy expression on his face as he lost himself in the grace of her every movement. Then suddenly her attention shifted towards him and he found an immediate interest in the intense stitching of his left shoe.
“Hey you,” he heard her say as her arms fell around him. He could feel a sickening feeling shift joyfully in his stomach, “we still on for tonight?”
Somehow he managed a nod without throwing up all over her. She grinned playfully and kissed him on the cheek before turning away. His face flushed red and he returned to the sick of humor of his own friends.
The night was cool and Jessica clung to his arm tight shivering slightly. She spoke up every chance she could and laughed out loud when he tripped walking up the stairs to the movie theater. The movie made no sense to him at all because his focus was consumed by Jessica’s hand on his leg ten minutes in. Afterwards they walked hand in hand towards an ice cream shop. He ordered a chocolate vanilla swirl and she ordered a chocolate swirl which ended up in his lap after he attempted to wipe the ice cream off of her nose and clumsily knocked her cone out of her hand. Afterwards they sat in the moon light on the edges of tattered swings and laughed at each other’s company. When the night grew cold he draped his jacket around her shoulders and walked her home. In the glow of her porch light he heard her whisper, “I miss you,” before he whispered it back. Shaking from head to toe he stood holding her close afraid to ever let go again.
Walking home he watched the stars smiling in their wonder. His heart danced, his soul sang, and he refused to walk in a straight line as he wandered dreamily down the street. His quivering hand touched his lip where Jessica had just had hers and he beamed brighter than ever. He fell to the ground and basked in the daylight of a solitary street lamp. Time stood still as the stars twinkled over head and the night breeze whispered stories of sweet spring time love.