Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It Was Enough, short fiction by Talya Boerner

Young love and the overwhelming longing it brings. Not to mention all the embarassing things one does.  This story by writer and poet Talya Boerner captures it all.
 
 
The best thing about sleeping over at her best friend’s house was laughing all night. Side-splitting laughter until tears blurred their eyes. Staying up late, talking for hours about nothing and everything. Best friends are like that.

 The worst thing about it – her friend’s older brother. He made her crazy. Like she was gonna marry him someday crazy. Of course he had no idea of this plan. Breathing the same air made butterflies stir deep inside where she lived. But never would she admit this, not even to her best friend who knew all her secrets.

His bedroom was more like a corridor, a passageway leading to the only tiny bathroom in the home. It was an odd floor plan, as if the bathroom was an afterthought. Walking past his bed and dresser, invading his privacy to brush her teeth at bedtime seemed wrong. What if a middle-of-the-night bathroom break was needed?

The house was hot, a stuffy night in late summer. It would be stifling like this until fall, until the end of September. Maybe until the middle of football season. The air hung heavily, curling the hair that escaped around her loosely tied ponytail. Sleep would never come in this unbearable heat.
Talya Boerner


Tiptoeing silently with bare feet, small and invisible, she walked through his bedroom, his space, welcoming the darkness. She was invisible to him. A faint orange glow from the stereo in the corner was the only light. The floor, smooth from years of wear, vibrated slightly. “…warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air…” What was a colitas? He played that song over and over again.

She closed the bathroom door a bit too loudly, relieved to be unnoticed, like making it to home base during a child’s game of hide-n-seek. Safe, until the next game. The door, heavy and off balance, automatically swung shut. Her face was flushed but the tile felt cool to her toes. Maybe I should sleep in the bathroom with a cheek on the porcelain floor? It would be a welcome respite from the heat. Instead, she splashed icy water on her face, shocking and calming simultaneously. It was late, probably after midnight. The light above the sink buzzed like a mosquito zapper.

The toilet flush echoed, bouncing off the walls, embarrassing her. He was so near, on the other side of the wall, hearing her bathroom sounds. Even with the Eagles singing, she knew he heard.

As she cracked open the door leading back through his bedroom, he was visible on the bed against a thin white sheet. “Sorry,” she mumbled, closing the bathroom door nervously, careful not to slam it this time. What was she sorry for? Before thinking or breathing or willing her feet across the floor, he stopped her with a touch, patting the side of the bed.

“What?” she whispered back nervously, suddenly aware of his bare chest and her growing fit of giggles. His hand felt hot.

“Shhhhhh,” he whispered. She felt his breath on her ear.

“Just wanted to say goodnight,” he said with that mischievous glint in his eyes visible even in the dark bedroom.

He had never really spoken to her before, not really. “I can’t be in here.” The beat of the music matched her thumping heart. Could he hear her heart?

“Just for a second,” he held her hand to his chest. Strong, muscular, he was one of the best defensive players on the high school football team. A sound escaped from inside her, a cross between a giggle and a whimper. She felt silly. This was silly. But she had dreamed of this, hadn’t she? “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…” The music swelled.

It happened quickly leaving her unable to prepare, to take a mental picture, to savor it. This kiss, against which all future kisses would be compared, was delicious and warm and tasted of peppermint. And forbidden.

Sleep would never come in this unbearable heat.

 

The moment replayed in her mind over and over the remainder of the weekend, but the few seconds were blurred and impossible to summon, impossible to recreate. The closer the feeling returned, the further it slipped away. Monday morning at school things would be different. I would be different; I am different, she thought, fretting over what to wear, how to act, how to breathe. Never before had she longed for Monday morning. Upon its arrival she was convinced it never happened.

She saw him right off, leaning casually against the wall in the gym with his group of friends, the popular boys, laughing and joking. Wearing torn jeans and a bright blue t-shirt, relaxed and carefree without another thought directed my way, she thought. Why must he wear that t-shirt, the one that brightens his eyes? The butterflies multiplied, twisting and knotting inside. He ignored her. She ignored him yet knew his every move. She felt his energy across the dusty gym floor.

The school bell pealed overhead, jolting everyone into the new week. And then he looked her way. In the chaos, the morning congestion, with books slamming and kids walking toward class, he was smiling. At her. Smiling and pausing to gaze a second longer than was necessary. She smiled back.

 

It was enough, for now.

 

 

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