The day is pleasant. The park is inviting – still too chilly for it to be crowded, but warm enough to lay out on blankets, curled over magazines in hand, the crowns of our heads touching because of shared earbuds.
“I’d like to cuddle right now,” you say.
I think that to be a funny statement because we are just friends. Friends don’t cuddle; lovers do. Friends hug and push and shove and gently embrace, or companionably embrace, but they don’t “cuddle”. That’s reserved and I am not a member of that reserve. You had kicked me out of the running a long time ago and I had let it go.
I scoff, clicking my tongue, and turn a page.
“Um,” I say, “why would we do that?”
You answer, but not in the way I expect, not with words I had grown used to. My magazine is torn from my hands, discarded in the grass and suddenly you are above me, hovering over my hips, your knees pressed into my ribs.
“What are you doing?” I ask and my eyes flitter, against their will, from your lips to your eyes to the bump of your clavicle against your skin.
I think you say “this” but I am not sure (I will never be sure).
You lean forward and the your hair falls like a curtain closing us off to the sun, the moon, the stars – all of it – all of us is here, in this moment, a shared breath.
In that moment, I think of your lipstick leaving a trail of evidence, the individual blades of grass edging underneath my fingernails, the warmth and weight of your body as you settle into me, the touch of wind that teases the back of my neck as I lift myself to meet you—
The tilt of the universe as I meet you and we tumble around, back to the ground, changed.
Love, you see, is a delicate thing.
I am not someone who often thinks that. I think it a passionate thing, and it can be. I think it to be something of a thief, something that sneaks up on you, knocks you over the head, and steals all of your things… I suppose it can be that, too. I think it shifty, flighty, mercurial, bold and unbidden, unfathomable, mysterious, magical, accidental.
[I don’t know how I forgot delicate in that dithering list.]
You, you have delicately taken hold – reached through my skin, the viscera of my soul, and taken a firm, feathery hold of my heart…
I have been hit by a truck. The day is still pleasant, the park inviting enough, but you, you have just permanently changed my world.
I forgive you, in advance, for all the next moments we will have because you have spun our earth in another direction and changed the laws of physics – it is now all out of our control.