I closed my eyes last night, and a brightly-colored picture appeared.
I sit nervously in the front seat of that red Datsun. My hand holds the door handle, then my other hand, then my knee, then the door handle again. The Boy backs us out of my driveway. I study his hand on the gear shift as if it is an ancient artifact just discovered. We drive up my street, and bit by bit, my eyes inch their way upward. I steal a glance at The Boy’s face. I’m not a very good thief, though, because he catches me. And he smiles. I fall in love with my first boyfriend on that school-night trip to get frozen yogurt.
Click. The kaleideocope changes
The indoor-outdoor rectangular room reminds me of the screened-in porches we have at Grandma’s in Florida. Five puppies jump around and chase balls and tug on ragged socks. Oops. Make that six. One tiny black-and-white puppy has curled himself up in a corner. His tiny head rests on a faded purple stuffed Eeyore. I take at step toward him and crouch down. He lifts his eyes then his head and looks at me. His tail thumps once. Just once. Then his head rests back down on his purple pillow. “Dad, we have to have this one.” And Boomer becomes our best friend.
Click. The kaleideocope turns to a new image.
The sun beats down on my face. My cheeks are an oven, heating up by the minute. A pain shoots through the back of my thigh while the other leg screams at me through the knee. I can see the finish line ahead, so I push harder. Three clicks and the music thumps more loudly in my ears. The yellow finish-line numbers get larger and larger. I can make it. Faster, I push myself. And when I cross, it’s a record and I’m exhausted. I lean over as the volunteer cuts the timing chip off my shoe. I stumble forward, moving with the herd of tired runners. When I look up, my brother is there–like an oasis in a desert–with a cup of water and oranges. Like always.
Click. The rainbow colors shift once more.
Bodies move all around in the darkness. He leads me by the hand through the maze of people. I nearly trip on the raised parquet floor, and silently I pray he didn’t notice. Our bodies come together like two magnets, and he wraps his arms around me. He says a few words. I laugh awkwardly. Seconds tick. I say a few words. He doesn’t hear me. I try again, more loudly. He laughs awkwardly. More seconds tick. Our bodies move in rhythm with the song. More seconds tick and tick and tick. My head raises and his lowers at the exact same moment. Like a missle lock, our eyes find each other. The space between us disappears inch by inch. Bodies and shouts and blaring music surround us, but I only notice his lips on mine. We will playfully argue our entire relationship about who kissed who. But it doesn’t really matter. It only matters that we kissed and I fell in love.
My eyes opened in the quiet darkness. I rolled over and saw the empty other side of the bed. I closed my eyes and squeezed them with all my might, hoping for another click, another twirl of the rainbow.
But there was only black.