When it’s all shameless flirting and bubbling sexual tension. When it’s texting long missives and witty replies and conversations that stretch into the late/early hours like you don’t have anywhere to report to in the morning. When everything is laughs and life stories shared in hushed confessional. That place right in the middle of the bridge between This is fun and Oh, shit, could this really be something?
That’s where we are. We’re good morning texts and talking while we’re sitting in traffic and pics of what I’m wearing to work. We’re slick texts during the day out of the blue that throw the other off kilter. We’re absent minded strokes up and down my back while we’re waiting for our table. We’re dinners that stretch until the waiters are stacking chairs on top of tables. We’re languishing conversations until the wee small hours of the morning.
We’re having one such convo around 4am on one of many nights I can’t sleep. We’re about four hours post our last date and nine hours before our next one, and for some reason we’ve been laughing about The Boondocks for 15 minutes.
“You ever think about us?” He asks me outta the blue. And while I really appreciate how open and emotionally available he is, it still takes some getting used to. Some will power to not run the other way.
“I, uh, think about where we’re going for brunch tomorrow. I think about if we’re going to go see Alvin Ailey.”
“You should. Think about us, I mean.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“You’ll think about thinking about us?”
“HA! I’ll take it.”
“La, we been on the phone for like,” I can hear him pull the phone away from his face to check the display, “two hours and seventeen minutes.”
“You know, my grandma used to say that if you have that much to talk about with someone, you just need to go see them.”
“So, let’s do it.”
“Get up. Come meet me.”
“I just left you.”
“I know. But come anyway.”
I pause, weighing how reckless I wanna be here.
Year of bad decisions. I suppose.
He tells me where and I throw on sweats, figuring he can’t expect much at 4am.
I get there barely 15 minutes later and he’s beaten me. He’s in sweats and a t-shirt but I can tell as I walk up he’s freshly showered. He smiles when he sees me and takes a deep breath and I pretend not to notice and not to like it.
“You couldn’t even be without me for 12 hours?”
“Nawl. I guess not.”
We laugh and we talk until the sun comes up, making friends with the waitress and the truck driver on his way further south. Somewhere around seven we stumble out into the beginnings of daylight, our index fingers intertwined. He leans up against his car and pulls me into him.
“This was fun.”
“It was,” I say through a yawn.
“I gotta tell you something.”
“I like you. And I like us. I’m interested.”
“Ok? That’s all you have to say?”
“You don’t believe me do you?”
“NOPE!” I say as we bust out laughing. “I’ve been dream sold too many times. But I’m open to believing you.”
“That’s cool,” he says, giving me a tighter hug as he turns and walks me to my car, “all I need is an opening.”