I pull up to the school and try to quickly remember my way around. I visited her once, when we were just regular friends. I took a tour of the college and we drank vodka and talked about school and I slept in her bed with her but we didn't touch because I am straight and I didn't know I was in love with her. I wore pajamas because that's what I do and I left early In the morning because that's what I do and I didn't have a hangover because I never get them really. I think I drove straight home and went for a run and showered and called Johnny.
This is different. Here I am, some love-crazed not-me person, with greasy hair and my skin a particularly unpleasant shade of translucent. Going on some hopefully not hopeless quest to pursue what I think is right and good and will make me happy. I am Don Quixote. I am insane. I am in love. Why do I keep using that word? Do I think that saying it over and over will make a difference? Will it make everything logical and easy? No. Just the opposite. It will make everything difficult and complicated and emotional and messy- and spectacular.
I pull into the parking lot and turn off the car. What do I need? I just grab the apple and the letter and leave the keys in the ignition. The sun is just setting and the sky is a marvelous and ridiculous combination of red and orange and yellow and purple and some blue. It's almost too good to be true- like Valerie and Sophia. It might be overcompensating for something terrible that's really going on. I hope nervously that that is not the case as my fingernails find their familiar niches in my apple.
I wander around, vaguely disoriented, and then I see her. Her. The object of affection; the final destination. She's just as imperfectly beautiful as I remember her. I feel the blood in my veins heat up. I feel like I've been drinking whiskey. I am actually intoxicated by her, just the sight of her. I stand rooted to the spot, for fear of a couple of things. I don't think that I can walk, first of all, that's how drunk I feel. Secondly, I don't want to ruin anything. I don't want to say the wrong thing, or say a weird thing, or make her hate me. If I stay here forever, then nothing can go wrong, right?
She's smoking a cigarette and and talking animatedly to her friends. I hear her laugh, her rich, full laugh, and almost fall down on the ground. But somehow I regain my balance. In all of the motion of me almost falling but not, she looks in my direction. She starts to look away but then turns back sharply, and squints. If this were a movie, the shot would pan horizontally from her to me. Then it would zoom in on my expression, confused and crazed and scared, and then on hers: confused, yet jovial. She would inch away from her friend and say my name slowly and questioningly. I would still be unable to say anything, as I hadn't really spoken in a week. I might nod, or laugh nervously. She would then run to me and give me the best, most loving hug, and wait- is this really happening? All of the sudden I'm on the ground, on the grass. And yes, she's there too. Our bodies fitting together in this affectionate embrace in just the perfect way. The last rays of sun of the day are hitting us but I can't see her face because my eyes are closed and I might be crying but I can't tell.
There are no leaves on the ground because it's not fall yet. It still feels like summer. But it's the first day of school. I should be in school. I'm not. I'm here. This is where I should be. I have to try to remember that. Aerial shot now, in our movie. We're rolling around on the ground, not kissing but just hugging, because we've never kissed, because I don't like girls and I never knew I was in love with her.
I think she notices I'm crying, because she sits up and pulls me up with her and wipes the tears off of my face with her soft hands and asks me what's wrong.
I manage to choke out the word “Nothing” albeit unconvincingly.
“No, seriously.” She says. “Are you okay? Why are you here? What happened?”
I try to think of a way that I can phrase it and then I remember the letter. It's on the ground, next to the apple. It's kind of crumpled, but I pick it up and hand it to her anyway. That one simple action, handing her the letter, was so exhausting, I feel like I can never do anything more in my life. I half-collapse onto the ground and look up at the sky, now getting darker, and start to shiver a little bit, even though it's not cold.
I know this is cliché, but it seems like an eternity while she reads the letter. Maybe it really is an eternity, though. I have no sense of time anymore.
“Eva…?” I hear said quietly; meekly. That can't be Sadie. Sadie never says anything quietly, or meekly. When I sit up, however, she's the only one around. It was definitely her that said my name.
“Yes?” I reply, quivering in voice as little as possible.
“What…why did you write this? Is this a joke? Are you sure? I don't understand…I just don't.”
“Sure? Sure? I've never been more sure of anything. This is all I've been thinking about for a week. I haven't eaten, I haven't talked to anyone, I couldn't even make it through my first day of school. Sadie, I don't understand this either. It's completely fucking illogical. But we need to figure it out. And I don't think it's just me, either. And I don't think I'm just crazy. And I don't think I'm making the whole thing up.”
I feel even more exhausted. I didn't know I had that many words in me. I lean in the direction of Sadie and make contact with a soft, warm body.
“But Eva…” She starts to say.
“You smell like cigarettes.” I say.
“ Yeah, I'm sorry…I just smoked one-”
“No, I like it.”
“What? But you don't smoke.”
“No, I just like it. It's comforting. It's you.”
“Eva, you're not making any….I'm serious. We need to talk about this. You have a boyfriend. You don't like girls. You didn't go to school today? You always go to school. You love school.”
“You don't understand, Sadie. None of that is actually important. That's just all of the shit that I thought I was supposed to be doing. But I've figured it out- I'm supposed to be with you.”
“Me? What's so special about me? Eva, you're a million times better than I am. You're beautiful, responsible, successful, and on track to have an amazing life. You don't want to fuck that up by getting mixed up with me. Sure we're friends- we're great friends- but you don't want to be with me, I don't think. You-”
“Do you love me?” I hear myself ask. Where did that come from? Why did I say that? That's a screen writing error, it has to be. Shit. I can't exactly go back and re-shoot it.
“Do you love me? I think that you do, and I think that that's pretty much all that matters.”
“Of course I do. I mean, I always have. But Evie please, listen, you don't want to do this to yourself. There are other important things. There's Johnny. I don't want to be a home wrecker.”
“I love you too.” I say.
She opens her mouth like she is going to say something, but then stops. I pick up the apple and take a bite. I hold it up to her mouth and she hesitates, but then she bites in as well. There is a moment of the least romantic, crunch-noisy apple chewing ever.
Then I kiss her. Just like that. The culmination of everything I've been feeling all day and all week. It's so simple, and so natural. I kiss her and she tastes like apples and cigarettes and coffee. I kiss her and I taste like just apples; apples and emptiness. A weird thing happens though, as we kiss. I feel like my whole body is being filled with something- life, energy- I don't know. But I just feel fixed; healthy; whole. And we stop kissing and I just look at her. Her long hair is kind of mussed, and there are little pieces of grass sticking out it. She's wearing a dress the shade of blue that makes her eyes look like they are glowing. She reaches out and touches my face, I shiver at the touch for some reason, but then I kiss her fingers. Her fingernails are painted purple. That suits her.
“You look kind of sick.” She says. “Have you eaten anything today?”
“Um…” I say, genuinely trying to remember. “No, I don't think so.”
“Come inside,” She says, “I have some pizza”
I nod and follow her, not wanting for a second to leave her side.
She brings me to her room and wraps me in blankets and gives me pizza and water and ice cream and we talk forever. Once she is satisfied with my eating, we lie down together in her bed. We kiss and eventually all of our clothes are on the floor. This is the tastefully shot sex scene in the movie. We are two beautiful female bodies and we are loud and she makes me feel like no man has ever made me feel before. And then we are happy and warm in her bed and falling asleep. Somewhere a television is blaring about some disaster, and somewhere a phone is ringing, but I don't care because I'm lying here with my Sadie.