Our lips may have been pressed together, but what he really touched was my heart. I had given up on being happy and finding someone who understood me, someone I really connected with. All of that changed when I met him. If I would have gone through with my plan, I never would have met the love of my life, or even be alive. My outlook on life was changed by a date filled with ice-skating, laughter, and finally feeling like someone understood me.
He moved his hand into his jacket that I was wearing and pulled me into him, grabbing me at the small of my waist. As we became one, I looked into his eyes and knew; I was his person, he was mine. I turned away in awe of his beauty and smiled.
His index finger tipped my chin back towards his as he locked his caramel-brown eyes with mine that were flooded with anticipation. I felt his hand graze from my cheek to the back of my neck as he pulled me in closer, as if he could not get enough of me. When we touched I forgot my past and with open eyes saw my future.
My senses were flooded with a strange, buzzing feeling that reminded me of the sensation of swallowing hard liquor. My chest was suddenly wrapped in warmth, and I was left feeling numb. My heart was racing, yet I felt calm as I thought to myself, ‘Yes, this is how it should be. This is what I will wake up to 20 years from now. Him lazily pulling me in close enough that we are at peace with each other. God, I can’t wait for that day. When all of this is in fact mine.’
My lips against his tasted like everything I had ever dreamt of, mixed with new ones. I never knew I could crave someone or how they made me feel. I could taste his past and the pain he’d been through. I knew he needed someone just by the way his lips cried out for help without uttering a word.
Being so close to him, I could smell his home, the essence of wood stove smoke enfolding his body, as if he had bathed in it. His country home that let out an aroma of flowers, dirt, and rusted four-wheelers danced around in my mind. It was that that made me realize where I want to be, where I needed to be. It smelled familiar without me ever having stepped foot there. The faint smell of snow dangled off his clothes from when he had fallen onto the snow-kissed rink.
The sound of his laugh from when I had tripped over a chair on the ice was on repeat in my head, playing like a broken record. From the moment I heard it, I knew it was the one I wanted to hear from that day forward. Bright and cheerful, just like his smile, just like him. Even though he was not pleased with everything life had handed him, he was radiant in that moment.
I felt something I had not in a very long time: happy. He made me feel like I wasn’t losing my sanity. If I was, I would end up safe because I had him. He made me feel like no matter how screwed up life got, it would be worth it in the end because I would have us to think back on, and that thought was enough to end any sadness.
I saw my future, everything we had discussed. He and I in Washington, me straight out of college and him risking his life daily as an underwater welder for the Navy. We would be living in our old farmhouse with beaten, broken-down vehicles spread throughout our fifty acres. Eventually he would give into my nagging and get around to fixing the eye sores. Our chickens would roam wherever they please, wandering through all the bright places. Our dogs chasing each other while our cat would rest lazily on the rock he had claimed as his own, bathing in the sun. Everything I never knew I wanted was playing in my head.
When I opened my eyes from our kiss, I saw him, and that is all I needed. Our lips may have been apart, but we were still one, just as we remain, one and in love.
He showed me I should not give up. No matter how hard life gets, there is always a chance of things getting better. If I would have quit before I had this experience, I would have missed out on something worth lusting over.
Vegas Stocker is a 15-year-old living in the small town of Iola, Wisconsin. The alarming summer of 2016 turned her life around. She took the unsureness of herself, mixed with the post-traumatic stress of her past, and put it into words, writing stories of her experiences, good or bad. She hopes to inspire others by letting them know that their past does not define them or their worth.