"John," I started. "I think I...well, I...I think, um," I hesitated. "I think..."
"Ok, I get the point. You think," he giggled and hugged me tight.
"No!" I playfully grabbed him in the side. "Never mind!"
"I don’t know." I looked him in the eyes. "I can’t get over you being here with me."
"Why’s that so hard to believe?"
"It just is. John, I really like you."
"I really like you too Iris."
"I feel like I could love you."
"Me too," he whispered, laying his hand across my cheek. It was so warm. I could tell his hands were sweating. I brought
up my hand and touched the dimple in his chin. He leaned in and kissed me, a short kiss, nothing special.
I backed away a little and smiled. "That was sweet."
"Aw, shucks!" he giggled.
He squeezed me tight and peered out over the river again. An idea popped into my head.
"Sing to me."
"What? Sing what?"
"I don’t know. Sing to me..." I thought for a second. "Sing a song that would describe how you felt when you first
met me in front of the club."
"What? Alright, alright. Let me think."
While he thought, I looked down at his hands. They were big and strong. I placed mine over his and looked back up at him.
"Ok. I got it. Don’t laugh," he smiled.
"Go on," I waited.
He cleared his throat and began, "I may not always love you, As long as there are stars above you, You never need to doubt
it, I’ll make you so sure about it," he paused and looked into my eyes, "God only knows what I’d be without you."
I held my breath. He was singing the Beach Boys. I smiled awkwardly. I’d honestly never had anyone sing to me before.
"If you should ever leave me, Life would still go on believe me..." He took my hands and pulled me off of the bench. He
twirled me around and pulled me in close, swaying in circles. He reached up and caressed the back of my hair, and breathed
in the aroma.
We swayed around for a few minutes, then unlatched and sat down on the ground. "Did you know it’s almost 2:30?" I
said, looking at my watch.
"Wow, that late? Your mom’s probably worried sick."
"Nah. She just told me to call before coming home. She knows I could take care of myself."
"Yeah, I guess so. You’re how old? Seventeen, eighteen?"
"I’m seventeen. You?"
"I don’t know if I want to even tell you," he giggled.
"Well, how old’s too old to you?"
"Just tell me John."
"I’m twenty-three," he mumbled.
"Oh," I said shocked.
"Is it too old?"
"Well, no. Six years isn’t bad. Actually, I’ll be eighteen in July, so..."
He sighed and looked down at the ground. "It’s your mom, right?"
"No. My stepdad was nine years older than her, so she shouldn’t have a problem. John, just...it’s fine with
me," I took his face in my hands and smiled.
"You sure it’s not gonna bother you? You’re alright?"
"I’m alright." I kissed him lightly. "John, sing me another song?"
"What? It’s too late. Can I take a rain-check?"
"Ok," I sighed.
"Come on," he helped me up once again and we began walking back toward the entrance to the river.
"You know," he began, "I knew from the first time we talked tonight that we might have something here."
"Aww. That’s so sweet." He turned and smiled at me. I loved the way he looked when he smiled. He was the complete
opposite of what he looked. He was really sweet. I guess that’s what you get when you’re the youngest child
with four sisters, it’s almost a rule to turn out sensitive!
"Hey," he nudged me. "Wanna do something tomorrow?"
"Sure," I answered. "Thank God!" I thought.
"I mean, if your mom doesn’t mind."
"No, I don’t think she’ll mind John," I reassured him.
"What do you want to do?"
"Alright. Oh, I think I’ll need your number."
"Yeah, that could be helpful." I opened my purse and got out a Sharpy. "Give me your hand."
He held out his hand and I wrote, Iris- cell: 688-7961 home:893-8592.
"Ok, there. Let’s go." I took him by the hand and we walked toward the gravel road. I turned my head to look at him,
but his gaze was not in my direction. He was looking down, at his feet. He was deep in thought, I could tell. "Is something
wrong?" I asked softly.
"No," he glanced at me. "I just forgot to tie my shoes."
I giggled and looked down at his feet. His black Vans were indeed untied. "Oh, that explains that face."
"What face? I was just trying to think of a polite way to ask you to stop for a minute."
"How about, ‘Could you stop for a sec?’" I snickered.
"Yeah, that’s alright." he stopped and bent over, tied his shoes, and sighed. "Ok."
We began walking. At this pace, I wouldn’t be home till daylight. I picked up the pace a bit and John almost struggled
to keep up. He had the cutest, funniest walk I’d ever seen. I reached into my purse and pulled out my cell phone. I
dialed my number and listened to it ring about seven times. There was no answer, so I figured that my mom was probably asleep
and hung up.
"Iris," John eased me to a stop. "Maybe I should walk you home. I don’t trust these streets at night."
"Where do you live? What street?"
"I live on North."
"Really? That’s close to the Continental."
"Yeah. How about you?"
"I live on 19th, kind of close to Buff State."
"But, yeah. You can walk me home. It’s no problem with me," I looked over and smiled.