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.