Only on the Staten Island Ferry

“It was October, freshman year. First time in history that I’d ever missed the bus. If I had arrived on time, I never would’ve seen her. But as it was, I was the first person at Huntington Hills High to set eyes on Amanda Beckett. It was her first day at school. Then, I’m sitting in class enjoying a late breakfast when out of all the classrooms in the entire school, she walks into mine. And where does the teacher sit her? Right next to me! Now, up until now, one could write this off to coincidence. But then she reaches in her bag and pulls out a strawberry Pop-Tart — the very same breakfast pastry I was consuming at that moment! What was I to do? How was I to proceed?” — Preston, Can’t Hardly Wait
I took this photo on a boat.

The breeze is gently blowing. Late summer sun warms the air, enveloping me. I am standing back, surveying the cityscape. I never thought I would be here. Enjoying my life. Feeling like I belong. I am ok. I still find new people intimidating, but I’m out there and boy am I faking it until I’m making it.

I’ve been happily bopping along on my own. Dating has been on the backburner. And then, I see you across the ferry.

It felt like this.

I attempt to continue my conversation but I can’t help but sneak peeks at you, willing the space between us to shrink, asking a higher power for a connection.

When we first speak, your voice goes straight to my head. It’s deep and also somehow quiet. You are shy and have kind eyes. The triple threat of accent, my lust and the noise mean that I keep having to ask you to repeat yourself. You give up sometimes, saying your English isn’t good. I smile, longing to run my hands through your hair. No, no, please, I want to understand.

I give you my number at the end of the night, a Hail Mary, hoping you feel the same wave of desire for me.

A week later, there you are. I am so glad to see you that I cannot even look at your face. I speak animatedly to your friends, hoping you’ll talk to me alone. I break with your gaze, it’s too much, too good. We talk about your time in New York. We talk about the evening, the music, the drinks. Soon, but not soon enough, you speak to me about our last encounter. Did I know that you had a foreign number and couldn’t text yet? You were thrilled I’d shown interest, you would have never been so bold as to presume. It’s right then and there that you kiss me. I haven’t felt that pang of satisfaction in years. The rest of the night is a blur of pure bliss. I dance with you, my heart close to you.

The next day, your name dances across my phone screen. Will I see you soon?

We arrive at the restaurant, the host casually mentions what a handsome pair we make. You smile. I smile. I can’t believe my luck. Best of all, you are kind. You tell me about your family, your home across the ocean. I long to see you in your element. I admire the way your are confident and not the least bit showy.

Time accelerates. The next time you tell me you consider us to be dating, do I as well? We fit together. It seems so easy. Until your job sends for you to return. Immediately. There isn’t time for a proper goodbye.

I am heartbroken. We talk less and less with the time difference and without the support or face to face contact to bridge the language barrier. I miss you still, but most of all, I’m grateful to know that you exist.

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