Maybe subconsciously, I knew what I was doing when I put on my tie-dyed tank top and bib overalls, my hair twisted up on top of my head and left the house that night. Maybe I knew what I was doing as I stopped at the store for a soda and some chips. And maybe I knew what I was doing when he and I sat down on the couch to watch The Last Unicorn with his seven year old daughter. He was the roommate and best friend of my best friend and her boyfriend. It was just convenient...would it have been just anybody, or was it actually meant to be him?
It all began so innocently - he was on one side of her, I was on the other. Each of us had our arms across the back of the couch, and when his fingers brushed mine, I felt every fiber in my being stand at attention. It was as if the last few months had simply been building up to this precise moment, and I was ready for it.
From the time that we'd walked to the store to buy ingredients to make chicken soup.
From the time we'd walked home from Stephanie's, singing Jim Croce songs the whole way home.
From the time that we sat on the couch and played two-player Tetris on the x-box, eating horrible frozen lasagna. He'd put on Abbey Road that night and was impressed that I knew all the words to Maxwell's Silver Hammer...it had been building up to this moment.
"Could you trade me places, sweetheart?" I asked his daughter, who looked up at me with chocolate eyes as she and I switched places on the couch.
And I fell into him as if it were the most natural thing in the entire world. Casually, he ruffled my hair and ran his fingers up and down my spine. Wrapped in the arms of a man for the first time in two long years, I finally felt beautiful again.
When my best friend came home that night, she and I sat on the porch and we talked for an hour.
"I can't believe that I finally did it," I told her. She and I sat underneath the flickering porch light, both barefoot. "And you know what's funny? It just felt...right. I needed this."
"I know," she said. "I mean, really...I've known that this was going to happen, and honestly, I'm glad that it did. You do need this. Just be careful, okay?"
I said I would, yet we both knew that I was lying.
We lay on piles of blankets in front of the TV that night. Moulin Rouge! was on TV, and I felt a kinship with Christian as he told Satine how wonderful life was with her in the world.
He undid one buckle on my overalls, then the next. Slowly, he lifted my tank top and began to kiss my belly. Gifted hands explored the plain of my body. Gently, he cradled my breasts in each hand, kissing the nipple delicately. Running a hand down my back, I felt chills. Our tongues explored the new terrain of each other's mouth, tasting the other. Neither of us wanted this to end. Ever.
When I realized the voice that was desperately pleading with the other not to stop was mine, I was taken aback.
You're the closest to heaven that I've ever found and I don't want to go home right now...
We lay awake all night, lying there in front of the TV, half-dressed and craving each other in a way both of us had forgotten was possible. As the sun came up, I offered to make him breakfast.
"That'd be great, darlin," he murmured into the crook of my neck.
That hot August night was when I learned what I was looking for in my life, and it was the night that I realized that it wouldn't be a dead-end relationship with a convicted felon. I saw the white picket fence fantasy as we lay together that night. There it was in my mind's eye as we lay together in a tangle of limbs under a Scottish flag on the wall. I could almost hear it as we listened to Johnny Cash and June Carter sing about a carpenter and a lady, saving love for loneliness and saving love for sorrow.
You've given me your onliness, come and give me your tomorrows.
If it hadn't been for those few months that I spent with him, I would never have been able to find the courage or the strength to do what I truly needed to do. My white picket fence life did not come true with him, but he did show me what I wouldn't be able to get with my husband, and what I had a chance at if I moved on with my life.
And for that, I am eternally thankful.