This is a story about a beautiful girl, and a boy with bad timing. The girl’s name is Hannah and the boy is none other than yours truly. Hannah and I met a few years ago, she was friends with my brother and we vaguely knew each other, but we had never really talked. I forget exactly when and where we first met, but I’ll never forget the first time I looked into her eyes. At the time I was probably about nineteen and I was working for my grandpa, bartending at one of his restaurants. Hannah got hired as a hostess, and I remember the first time we worked together, she came over to say hi. Like I said, we had spoken a few times before, but when she leaned up against the bar and looked me in the eyes I swear my heart skipped a beat. If you don’t believe me then you haven’t seen beauty like I saw that night. She has stunning blue eyes, long dark hair and beautiful porcelain skin. It was the first time I really saw her I think, and I could hardly think of anything to say. We worked together for the summer, slowly becoming friends. We would flirt harmlessly back and forth, but it was only on the surface for the most part. We worked together for two summers after that, always picking up right where we left off. Of course I was attracted to her, if you saw this girl you’d be amazed I didn’t propose to her on the spot the moment I met her.
The summer after I turned 21, 3 years after we met, things changed. I had moved restaurants, and was working for my dad waiting tables. One day, who would walk through the door but my darling Hannah. As we had before, we picked back up flirting like always. The only difference was that this time, we were both single. We flirted more and more and then started hanging out more outside of work. First it was just with other people and then it started being just the two of us. Then, despite my strongest efforts not to, I started to fall for her. Why is that a problem you ask? Stick around, this is where the bad timing comes in.
Earlier this year, I decided I was going to spend my next two semesters abroad; the drama of that whole situation is another story in itself. The point is, this was all decided before Hannah and I took off. So when I noticed I was starting to fall for her, I panicked because I knew I would be spending the next 10 or so months in another country, another continent. So instead of telling her how I felt, I made the foolish decision to lie to myself and pretend that I wasn’t falling for her, to try and save both of us the trouble. I did this for about two weeks and looking back now, I’d kick myself square in the nuts for wasting that time if I could. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I confessed my feelings for her. Suddenly I was free! This terrible burden I had imposed upon myself was gone and when she told me that she liked me too I could barely contain my happiness.
Upon the urging of one of my coworkers, I decided to ask her out on a date, hoping that she could see a side of me that she hadn’t been able to see before and come to feel the same way about me that I did about her. So one night, she was over at my house, which was becoming a pretty regular thing. She, my brother and I were all hanging out in my basement playing with Legos. My brother ran upstairs for a moment to grab something and after a few seconds of mentally whipping myself up, I said (in one breath) “look I know this is uncharted territory for us and neither of us really know what we’re doing here but I really like you and I think we should go on a date.” This obviously caught her off guard and she stammered for a few seconds trying to think of something to say. Of course this is when my brother decided to make his return so she was unable to respond. Then he went to the back of the house so I quickly whispered “it doesn’t have to be a big thing, but I think we can both agree that there’s something between us and I thought it would be fun to see what that was” I could see my brother coming back so hurriedly I whispered “think about it” and then started talking at a normal volume about something else. Later that night when I was walking her out to her car, she agreed to go on a date and I swear I could have flown to Saturn and back I was so happy.
A few days went by and we tried to figure out when we could go on our date, which was difficult. If she wasn’t working, I was and vice versa. Then I left for a long weekend to visit my friend downstate and go to a concert, and the first day I got there I went over the handlebars of my mountain bike and messed up my shoulder pretty bad. When I got home, Hannah and I were able to hang out one night before she left on a short trip with her family, also coincidentally on her last night of work. The next day she left and I went to the doctor to get my shoulder checked out. He told me that I shouldn’t work for a while and I pretended to be upset, because this meant that Hannah and I would finally be able to go out on our date. With both of our schedules finally clear, we agreed to go out that Saturday night. I immediately called my favorite restaurant downtown and made a reservation for 8:00. The next day I got my haircut, bribed my uncle into letting me borrow his 1985 Mercedes convertible for the night and then everything was in place.
Saturday came around and I spent most of the day in eager anticipation, which is more difficult to admit than it should be. Finally it was time. I fired up the Mercedes and picked her up around 7:00. We drove downtown with the top down, enjoying the evening sun. We got to town with some time to spare so I parked the car in the parking garage and we walked around for a bit. Conversation came easily, like it always has, and soon it was time for dinner. We had a wonderful meal, laughing and talking about our trips we had just gotten back from, complained about work as we often did, and generally enjoyed ourselves. After dinner we walked down to the marina and looked out at the last rays of the sunset, holding hands and talking about whatever came to mind.
Real quick about the hand holding: Earlier, right after we had parked the car and were walking to the restaurant, I tried to hold her hand. She stopped me, saying that she was never really into that sort of thing, which didn’t bother me. Then, after we finished dinner and were waiting for the check, she had her hands on the table. Not really thinking about it, I took them. Then I remembered what she had said earlier and I expected her to pull away, but instead she looked up at me and smiled, squeezing my hands as she did. From then on, I don’t think there was a point when we weren’t touching; her skin was just so soft, I couldn’t resist. Actually, while we’re out of the action, I should mention something else. The night before I left to go downstate she came over. We sat out on my deck by this fire pit thing my dad bought, and just talked like we had been. She looked so beautiful that night. At one point she took my phone and put it on the other side of her from me. I leaned over her to get it and there was a moment when our faces were inches from each other. I almost kissed her right then, and I don’t know why I didn’t. I didn’t say anything about it at the time, but I asked her later if I could have kissed her and she said she was sure I was going to, and had wanted me to. Mentally kicking myself, I vowed to kiss her at the next possible opportunity. Ok, now you’re up to speed. Back to the date…
So there we were, sitting on the beach. She was deliberately not saying anything to tease me and it was driving me crazy. I figured this was as good a time as any to kiss her so I cowboy-ed up, lightly grabbed her chin and kissed her. Her lips were the softest thing I could imagine, and I could smell the light floral scent of her perfume, which combined with the kiss, made me dizzy. We stopped after a while and looked at each other, and started laughing. We sat on the beach well into the night, talking and kissing in intervals for hours. We put it off for as long as we could, but after midnight we finally admitted that I needed to take her home. We got up, dusted off as much of the sand as we could, and walked back to the parking garage, stopping to kiss a few times along the way. Little did I know that the parking garage closes at midnight, so when we got there we found the door locked and the entrance gated up, with my uncle’s car still in there. There was a number on the door so I called it and while we waited for someone to come let us in, we kissed some more. To me, it felt like all of the flirting we had done since we met (which was considerable) had been building up to that one night and when I kissed her it was like a dam breaking. We kissed at every opportunity we had. Once we finally got the car out, again when I stopped to put the top up, when we got back in the car after putting the top up and at every stop sign and red light between the parking garage and her house. We kissed once more in her driveway, and then I watched her walk up to the house where I’m sure her parents were up waiting. It took herculean strength of will not to run after her and kiss her once more before she went inside, but I managed to resist. And then the night was over, five hours gone so fast it barely felt like one.
We’ve seen each other a few times since then, but she’s been so busy packing to go away for school and I’ve been working so I haven’t been able to see her as much as I would like. So I’m sitting here writing this, the day before she leaves to go to school and my thoughts are so scattered I’m amazed I’ve had the focus to write anything at all. Do I wish I had done things differently? That’s the million dollar question. I thought writing everything out would help me see things more clearly, but I’m just as mixed up as ever. I don’t regret anything that happened because the happiness I got from holding her, or looking into her eyes, or kissing her is worth the fucking world to me, but turning around and saying goodbye to her is going to kill me. I promised myself I wouldn’t let it get this far, that I wouldn’t let myself fall for her. I told myself a thousand times ‘this is a summer fling, Spencer. Don’t get attached’ but I can’t stop falling for her. In less than 24 hours I’m going to say goodbye to her and I’m not going to see her for a year. We’ll stay in touch, of course, and we’ll always be friends. Part of me can’t stop hoping that she’ll be single next summer, but there is a much larger part of me saying that’s not going to happen. She’s a wonderful girl, and she deserves someone to be there for her. She’s going to go back to school, she’s going to meet someone perfect and she’s going to be happy, because that’s what she deserves. I let this happen to myself, knowing that the closer Hannah and I got, the more it would hurt when we had to say goodbye. I’ll always look back at this time, how happy we were just being together, and hold in my heart the flame of what could have been, but never will be. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to her, this brief romance will become just another memory, and that will be that…