November 12 — Over the bridge / pier pals

I.

I wait until we’re on the Bay Bridge to tell her, glancing over just long enough to lock eyes and say those four words that cannot be unsaid.

The release is palpable. She laughs with astonishment and, somehow mixed in with that, happiness. She had no clue — a genuine surprise even though it seemed everyone else was talking about it. How’d I manage to be that subtle for three months?

“You really had no idea?”

“I had no idea!”

Well, it doesn’t matter now. I’m smiling too now, laughing at the masterful stroke of timing and the tormented thoughts that I’ve finally set free and the revelation that these feelings, to some degree or another, actually flow between our hearts in both directions. I stumble over a few more lines I rehearsed in my head about being different in just the right ways. She reaches over and shakes my leg, still laughing. “I think you’re great.”

II.

The next night we walk to the end of the pier and sit down. The breeze makes it cold and she could use another layer. I had some thoughts about what I wanted to say, but as it usually does in these situations my mind has locked up. “Sounds good” is about all I can muster. I just want to be with her. But for now things will continue as normal. Patience is the order of the day. “My head agrees,” I say. For now that’s enough.

She shivers and scoots right next to me, letting me put my arm around her. “The wind’s so cold.”

I realize the next day that she didn’t have to do that. The Michigander could have put up with the cold if she’d really wanted.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.