There’s this moment. When he’s standing right next to you, with you, talking to you — and all you can think of is how much you want to grab his hand. Kiss his lips. Stroke his dimples. Bury yourself in the hollow of his neck. Your fingers twitch trying to reach for his. And sometimes, you do touch him. Softly, on his arm, to point something out. Not long enough to even feel his solid bicep before you let go. Or you put your hand on his waist when you laugh at a joke, but you can’t look into his eyes as you do it because you are too afraid. Too vulnerable.
What do you do with his gaze? What can you do when he pins you down, his eyes setting your nerves on fire, your breaths shorter and your lips part and he’s less than an arm’s reach away but the distance may as well be a mile. How do you know what he’s thinking when he has the best poker face you know? How do you stop yourself from stroking his cheek when his face is a bundle of dimples when he smiles? Can you ache and stop? How far do you push to find out?
How much of the hesitation is for his benefit? Because he’s not the type of person who would be flippant about a kiss. Not the kind of guy who would drag you behind the hedges you are both busy admiring and kiss you hard and fast? How much of the fear is the fear of rejection? Of destroying friendship? Of wondering if it is him, or if anyone’s touch would do.
You tell him how much you hate his beard. You tease him. You touch his knee, always looking away. You wonder again and again what he thinks about in the silences between his replies. You wonder if he’s ever thought of kissing you. You wonder what he would want and you’re surprised how much you want to be it.
You imagine him staring at you just before he kisses you and your knees wobble for a moment. Your throat is dry. You’re standing close together. It’s the right moment. Isn’t it? Isn’t this exactly how it’s meant to happen? Sitting under a tree in the park holding up an umbrella as it rains, talking about future plans. Leaning against a wall. Sitting across from each other having tea. Staring at each other, silently. The moments stretch into infinity. You stare at him until you are so shaken that you look away. That’s the moment, isn’t it? When you should move forward. Close the gap. And yet. You are frozen. You can’t lean into him. You want him to move toward you.
What if he knows? What if he doesn’t?
The shadow of his merry eyes and upturned nose and the creases scoring his young face. You wonder what he’ll look like when he’s older. When his dimples and creases are joined by wrinkles. You struggle not to kiss him. You want to. You want to so badly your whole body shakes for a moment so you step away. Stare into the distance. Stare anywhere but into his blue eyes. His long, pale lashes that darken at the roots. You think of stroking his face. Of being allowed free rein with his body.
There’s something between you. And there’s nothing.
You wonder who the last person to kiss him was. You wonder what he’d be like if the uncertainty isn’t there. You see a vein pulse in his wrist and you want to kiss it. Everything he does makes you want to lean into him.
You hold yourself back. Silently begging for him to lean in.