BY PEARL CADIGAN
“I almost told you that I love you that night,” he says.
I inhale sharply and my heartbeat accelerates, cheeks blushing a fiery red. I peek over at Will, who sits in the passenger seat to my right. He isn’t looking at me; instead his eyes are fixed downward at his hands clasping one another in his lap. The street light above us casts an orange glow on his features. I’ve always envied his long eyelashes. I’m going to miss admiring them when we’re at school.
“Do you?” I anxiously choke out, voice breaking mid-sentence.
I mimic his downward gaze before he can catch my eyes. I fiddle with the strings fraying from my distressed jeans. Jesus, my hands are sweaty — I hope he doesn’t try to hold them.
“Yeah, I do,” he says.
Suddenly, I’m drawn to look into his eyes, my head lifting as I meet his stare. He always looks at me so intensely, as if he’s trying to figure out each and every thought that passes through my head. Sometimes, I think he can decipher them even better than I can.
I see so deeply into the blacks of his pupils, deeper than I thought was possible. I see every star within them, even the falling one we shared that night. The night he almost told me he loves me.
“Do you?” he softly questions back, voice raising on the last syllable.
Do I love him?
I miss him when he goes to the bathroom. I think of him every time I look at the moon, every single time. I’ll never be able to listen to George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” again without my mind wandering to memories of that night. The night we lay next to each other on the cold earth. The night we both somehow caught sight of the same shooting star despite its short life. The night he almost told me he loves me. Oh god, oh god, oh god. I guess I do love him. Yeah, I love him.
“Yeah, I think I do,” I say.
He beams a toothy smile, and I can’t help but let one escape too (I’ve always hated smiling with my teeth — he knows that.) The deep, dark concavities of his eyes illuminate, and I feel something I’ve never felt before. He reaches across the clunky console between us to envelop me in his arms. I breathe in and it feels as if I’ve never truly known the sensation of air filling my lungs until this moment.
Outside, the cicadas chirp. They sing the night song that they serenade New Englanders with every summer, but tonight, in this moment, this is our song. Their high-pitched hums, in combination with the faint thump of Will’s heartbeat, have never sounded so beautiful. I wish I could listen to this song forever, live in this moment forever.
Pearl Cadigan is a senior studying Magazine at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. She is an avid reader and writer, and is currently the editor-in-chief of Jerk Magazine.