(*Photo credit to Nigel Howe*)
We crossed a line, that night. It had been a week of staying up until 2am, saying everything except the thing. I was going to go to bed early, but then he said something about shooting stars. I didn't look him in the eye when I said I would see if I could stay awake. My smile was answer enough for both of us.
We laid alongside each other in the grass, and I let myself think about kissing him for the first time all over again. We were kids, back then: giddy and careless and drunk, dancing between friendship and something more. I thought about what it would be to hold his jaw in the palm of my hand. His stubble against my skin. His breath mixed in with mine. We were still dancing now.
Except. We weren't drunk. And there were few things either of us cared about more than this.
I would get so excited all those years ago, when he used to ride his bicycle across town to come and see me. It hit me how much I had felt the wings of those same butterflies this summer: how much I felt it right now, as we nestled in to each other in the darkness. How so much changed, but how that never did, which changed everything.
The sky wore stars like extravagant jewels, and I remember thinking what a lovely thing it was that they that had come out to gaze at us for once. It was quite something, I suppose: that what was always going to happen was actually happening. That the two people who laid down on the grass would not be the same two people when they stood back up.
He said all the things that I thought he would, and I the things he thought I wouldn't, and we knew, after that, that we were falling into the kind of love you cannot fall out of. It floored me a little, if I'm honest: how real it felt when everything was said aloud. How good it felt when everything was said aloud. How right.
We didn't kiss then, or the night after, or the night after that. We just sat with it for a while: the enormity of those words and how, at last, they embroidered the air between us; the air heavy with longing. Belonging.
The dance, it stopped.
We were silent about it in the days after, and that felt necessary. A pause. A situation is, until it isn't, is the thing, and for so long it had been something that it would never be again.
After years and years and years of being together, we were, at last, perhaps,