Wednesday, February 15, 2012

KekahJ Week 91: We Were Young


Picture 1

Picture 2

KekahJ's Choice: Picture 1

We Were Young

It was still summer, but only just barely. The time of year where fall is just around the corner, waiting, and you can smell it in the air and feel it in the bite of early mornings. The time of year when the aroma of fresh baked bread from the corner bakery seems to somehow travel a little further and make your stomach growl a little louder. We’d always stop in on our way home in those predawn hours. Looking back, I don’t think they were even open, but the baker would always welcome us in and sell us fresh rolls that burned our fingers and mouths.

We were young and carefree almost to the point of recklessness. We smoked and drank with abandon, knowing our time was borrowed anyway. We didn’t belong in the city, but we lived like we did, spending our nights under the pulsing neon lights and the heavy beat of a thousand nameless, smoke-filled clubs. We spent our days behind sunglasses sitting broodingly at the tables of street cafes sucking down gallons of coffee as we tried to smoke our hangovers away. We thought we owned the world, the group of us, and for that summer at least, we did.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. You showed up at my door way too early and entirely too cheerful for that hour. You were alone, and I glared at you, but you wouldn’t be dissuaded. I was going to come with you, and that was that. Everyone else was sleeping, and I wanted to be too, but finally, I gave in, grabbing my jacket on the way out as you pulled me out the door and down the stairs.

My jaw fell open when I saw it. I rolled my eyes and tried to cause a scene, but you just laughed. A bicycle. You were serious, and you wanted me to ride it with you. You climbed on and rode around me in little circles as I huffed and stomped my feet. Laughing, you stopped, balancing the bike on your hip as you grabbed me around the waist and pulled me onto the bike. Breathless and slightly dizzy at this new proximity, I giggled and relented, climbing on behind you.

It had rained earlier, probably when it was still dark, and the streets were still dark and slick. A little afraid, I found myself clinging to your waist as the chill wind caught my hair and threw it back. It seemed like we rode forever, winding in and out of morning traffic and finally turning down a small, deserted alleyway. You slowed and I hopped off, shoving my hands deep into the pockets of my jacket.

It was awkward for a moment. We’d never been alone, away from the group before. You glanced at me, almost shy in the way you raised one eyebrow at me. But then, before I knew it, you were there, next to me, pressing against me, your breath warm against my neck. You whispered in my ear and I melted.

It was over before it started, it seemed. Both of us smoothing our clothes and glancing around awkwardly before we climbed back on the bike and rode back. There was one last tender kiss before I waved goodbye and climbed the stairs back to my apartment. Once inside, I crept quietly to the window and smiled when I saw you still standing on the street, bike braced against your thighs as you gazed up at my window. I waved and you grinned and waved back before riding away. I crept back to bed with a smile on my face.

That was the last time I saw you. I learned later that day that you’d flown home that morning. I never told anyone else about our ride together. Everyone had slept while we were gone, and no one had even noticed my absence. Our morning together would always remain our secret. And no matter what happened after that day, I could never bring myself to feel sad, or regret it. After all, we were young.