beautiful AF

You will have the most beautiful day.

These were my words. And I gave them to her.
Like most boys at the cusp of manhood and the lingering awkward stage of pubescence, I uttered each word with confidence that was laced with sheer ego and punctuated with self-conscious effort. There was not a cloud of doubt, no shadow of paranoia or a tinge of foreboding of what could possibly go wrong and threaten to rain over this lovesick parade. No, not in those days.

The sky loomed over us; the fiery gradient of sunset sort of matched her shirt. She seemed restless, but not really anxious. She kept tucking her hair behind her ear—just one, the left—and tugging at the cuff of her sleeve with her right. Her right sneaker pawed at the dry grass, absently it seemed, yet I discerned a pattern after a while. Was she bored?

The sun was setting. I handed her a tiny square of paper, a centimetre on each side. It was only then I noticed the drumming inside my chest; how long had it been beating like this? Was it really this loud? Could she hear it? I scanned her face nervously. Her gaze was fixed on the piece of paper resting on her palm, completely oblivious to the overworking muscle that was my heart. I rubbed my palms on my pants; damnit, my hands were sweating. Next to my occasional breakouts, I thought my sweaty hands to be disgusting. I’m sure she did too. Okay, I wasn’t sure; I didn’t even try to hold her hand.

I swallowed, hoping to dislodge the lump in my throat. A ripple began to spread behind my neck and my ears. Every nerve in my body was screaming by now, but this wasn’t fear. Not quite. It reminded me more of that time I first leapt off a cliff and plunged into a river on a stupid dare. Well, the minutes—no, seconds—right before the jump, right at the edge. Much like that first time I pulled out of the driveway in my dad’s band new car at 2 am and my very core was in fervent prayer to all the saints in the litany that nobody at home would dare wake up. The spiked senses, the waves of anticipation, the heightened awareness flowing through my lifeline and resonating throughout my entire consciousness. Every minute, every second; I was present.

Her gaze had shifted to me. The paper in her hand was now inside her mouth. Her eyes were whirlpools of uncertainty, nervousness, and excitement—and I wanted to drown in them. We stood still. My eyes followed every movement, every reaction. My own square had dissolved beneath my tongue about 5 seconds ago. Or maybe 10, or 20.

Doubt began to creep up behind me, like a sly bully standing right beside your locker door. Fuck. What if this all goes wrong? What if she gets a bad reaction? What if she’s allergic? Or it hits her badly and she goes psycho on me? Or worse—what if nothing happens? What if she laughs at me and thinks I’m nothing but a dumb fuck then tells all her friends. Wait, why am I only thinking of all this now? Mother. Fucker.

No way in hell she can’t hear the beating inside my chest. Is she fucking deaf?

I caught her eyes, glinting against the remaining embers of the afternoon sun, as the black pools of her pupils engulfed the rings of her hazel irises. (I’m quite sure pupil dilation happens really fast; this was like watching a science video in slow-mo. #mindeffingblown)

Her lips, soft and full like pink blossoms, were now red and curving into a smile. Ever so slow.

See, I truly did believe, with each pounding beat of my naïve, frail heart, that this was indeed going to be a beautiful day and it was probably the most extraordinary thing I could ever give a girl in my 17 years of existence. I truly did believe that I was giving her the universe—well, a universe that was infused with lysergic acid. A universe where everything, every single fucking thing, was more vivid, more radiant, more lush, more alive. A universe so ripe in all its psychedelic glory. A universe where I was more alive.

My eyes never left her, following every movement. For she now moved with a heightened sense of awareness of everything around her. I watched her eyes widen, in sheer wonder and amazement, at the sight of the manicured foliage on her front yard. The intensity of her gaze had me waiting for her to take a nose dive into the shrubbery. It wouldn’t be the first time for me to watch someone high as a kite on LSD plunge deep… into a furry carpet, a billiard table, a comforter, a fucking bowl of popcorn.

Instead, she turned to me. Her eyes wide, her mouth gaping open, her face completely washed over by a mixture of awe, curiosity, uncertainty, and disbelief. “This is so beautiful. The leaves—the patterns, the colours—are so beautiful. Everything is so damn beautiful.” It were as if she was chanting. She was so damn beautiful.

She probably looked like a lunatic, as she fawned over the plants with wild curiosity, but in this altered universe—our universe—never had she looked more beautiful to me. Her eyes, bright and alive, was the most extraordinary thing I had ever seen. The sight of another person so alive; I would never again find anything as glorious in my later years, sober or not.

From that moment on, I knew. That I had indeed given her—and myself—the most beautiful day I could possibly give. That those few minutes defined the meaning of beauty for me forever. That giving her this experience, of being able to return to an innocence that we as humans have long forgotten, was more incredible than sleeping with her. Because, in this tender moment of adolescent adoration, I truly believed that fucking with her mind was more incredible than fucking her. (Note: I may or may not disprove this in the future. That might’ve been the acid talking.)

One thing I am certain of: I would never see a girl look at me like that ever again, no matter how hard I tried.

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