Homesickness & Disney Princes

You are almost a year out of college, staring into a bank vault so empty that your nervous mouth breathing echoes around you. It has been seven months since you last checked the oil in your car, because you can’t afford to replenish it anyway. Your vision is rapidly decreasing but you need to hold on for two more weeks before your company health insurance kicks in and you can schedule a visit to Lens Crafters.

You live 2,836 miles away from home. Sometimes you go three weeks without talking to your mom because you know when you hang up you’ll cry into the stomach of a teddy bear you’ve had for more than half your life and plan your move home.

You spent two agonizing months flirting with a guy who looks like a Disney Prince. Or a Romney. He could’ve been gay but he texts you way too much for someone not looking for a nice girl or a good lay.

Last weekend, completely fed up, you put a note on his car asking, “So when are you gonna ask me out?” If he was never intending on asking you out, you can pretend he never saw the note, and he can pretend you never wrote the note, and you can both continue being on the same trivia team every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. You drive away before you can change your mind and shove In N Out fries into your mouth as you anxiously glance at your phone screen every thirty to sixty seconds.

The screen lights up with two photos from him.

The first is a photo of a note that says, “Now.”

The second is a photo of a note that says, “Guisados on Friday?”

It’s cute and it’s your favorite taco place and he has voluminous hair.

“Yes!” you respond and don’t realize that normally you’d consider such a line to be much too eager.

You are almost twenty-three years old, eating tacos with a Disney Prince. You can’t taste anything. You aren’t conscious of what your body is doing or what you’re going to say next. You’re sitting there, looking at this guy who remembers things that you said two months ago. His smile is even bigger than yours and reaches his eyes so deeply that you can barely see the blue irises and the sparkle in them.

You think he might like you as much as you like him.

Wait, he just asked you a question.

What did he say?

His teeth are so straight. Does he still wear a retainer?

Focus. You can’t ask him to repeat the question. You’ll sound like you don’t care enough to listen the first time.

He flips his hair back on the left side of his head but he uses his right hand to do it. Maybe he’ll give you your first foot-poppin’ kiss.

It’s too late to answer his question.

You laugh a breezy laugh and hope that he didn’t notice your inability to answer his question. You continue talking until the restaurant closes down and you’re the last two people there.

He walks you to your car, like he does after every trivia night. You chat for a few moments, expecting it to extend into the hour or two it usually does, while your brain thinks kissmenowkissmenowkissmenow.

“Alright,” he says, as if to your thoughts, and puts one hand on your hip. He places the other hand on the side of your face and neck in a way that makes just that part of you feel warm until you fall asleep that night.

He kisses you. It’s a little awkward at first, because you’re cold and your brain hasn’t caught up with the moment yet. But your body knows how to fall into it and you place your hands on his chest, lengthening your spine to reach his lips. He’s at least five inches taller than you and planted firmly in the ground like a redwood tree so you can lean on him when you’re a little bit breathless. In the last second of the kiss, you feel the momentum that will begin the next kiss, like a “next week on” at the end of your favorite television show.

He says goodnight and you sit in your car with the out of state plates that in this moment you’ve forgotten how to drive, the side of your face and neck burning. You wish you could binge-watch this season, but you’ll have to wait for next week’s episode.

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