November 9

Page 25


I try not to think about what I’m doing. How I’m about to move from a place I’ve lived my entire life to a city where I know absolutely no one. The thought of it makes me want to call a cab and go straight back to my apartment, but I can’t.
I have to do this.
I have to force myself to make a life before the one I’m not living swallows me whole.
I pull my driver’s license out of my purse and prepare to hand it to the security agent as I wait in line. There are five people in front of me.
Five people is enough time to talk myself out of moving to New York, so I close my eyes and think about everything in New York that I’m excited about. Hot dog stands. Broadway. Times Square. Hell’s Kitchen. The Statue of Liberty. The Museum of Modern Art. Central Park.
My eyes flick open.
I turn around and Ben is standing at the revolving door. He begins running toward me.
In slow motion.
I cover my mouth with my hand and try not to laugh as he slowly stretches out an arm like he’s reaching out for me. He’s yelling, “Doooon’t goooo yeeeet!” as he moves slowly through the crowd of people.
People from all directions stop to see what the commotion is all about. I want to dig myself a hole and hide but I’m laughing too hard to care about how embarrassing this is. What in the world is he doing?
When he finally reaches me after what seems like forever, a huge grin spreads across his face. “You didn’t really think I was just going to drop you off and leave like that, did you?”
I shrug, because that’s exactly what I thought just happened.
“You should know your own boyfriend better than that.” He takes my face in his hands. “I had to create angst so I could try to make this kiss a ten.” He presses his mouth to mine and kisses me with so much emotion, I forget all the things. Everything. I forget where I am. Who I am. There’s a guy and I’m a girl and we’re kissing and the feels and the knots in my stomach and the chills on my skin and the hand in my hair and my arms that feel too heavy and now he’s grinning against my lips.
My eyelids flutter open and I didn’t even know kisses could really make eyelids flutter open. But they do and mine did.
“On a scale of one to ten?” he asks.
The room feels like it’s spinning, so I suck in a huge rush of air and try not to sway. “A nine. Definitely a solid nine.”
He shrugs. “I’ll take it. But next year, it’ll be an eleven. Promise.” He presses a kiss to my forehead and releases me. He begins to walk backward and I’m aware of everyone in our vicinity staring at us, but I can’t help but not give a shit. Right before he reaches the revolving door, he cups his hands around his mouth and yells, “I hope the entire state of New York laughs at you!”
I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so big. I lift a hand and wave goodbye as he disappears.
It really was a ten.
Second November
Her tears and my soul, they live parallel lives.
Run, ache, burn.
Her tears and my soul, they live parallel lives.
When you swing upon a memory
So dark and far away
You get caught upon a mystery
That guides you through the day.
Although you’re standing weak
And don’t know your way around
I will always be there
For you when you’re down.
I wrote that piece of shit poem when I was in the third grade. It was the first thing I ever showed anyone.
Actually, I don’t even think I showed it to anyone. My mother found it in my room, which is how I came to respect the beauty of privacy. She showed everyone in my entire family and it made me never want to share my work again.
I realize now that my mother wasn’t trying to embarrass me. She was just proud of me. But I still never show anyone the things I write. It’s almost like saying every thought out loud. Some things just aren’t for public consumption.
And I don’t know how to explain that to Fallon. She assumes, based on our agreement last year, that I’m writing a novel that she’ll one day read. And as much as she claims it’s fiction, every sentence I’ve written in the past year is more truthful than anything I’d ever admit out loud. I’m hoping after today I can start rewriting it in order to give her something to read, but the last year of writing down my fucked-up life has been kind of therapeutic.
And even though I’ve been busy with school and what I now call my “writing therapy,” I still found time to complete the homework she gave me. And then some. I’ve read twenty-six romance novels, only five of which Fallon recommended. What she failed to tell me is that two of the novels she suggested were firsts in a series, so of course I had to finish the series.
So far in my “research” I’ve concluded that Fallon is absolutely right. Kisses in books and kisses in real life aren’t exactly the same. And every single time I read one of these novels, I cringe when I think about the few times I kissed Fallon last year. They absolutely were not book-worthy, and even though I’ve been doing a lot of reading this past year, I’m still not sure what makes a kiss book-worthy. But I know she deserved better than what I gave her.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t kissed anyone since I kissed Fallon last November. I’ve been out with girls a few times since then, and when Fallon jokingly said she wanted me to compare every girl to her, she got her wish. Because that’s exactly what happened with both the girls I kissed. One of them wasn’t nearly as funny as Fallon. The other was way too self-absorbed. And neither of them had good taste in music, but that doesn’t count since I have no idea what taste in music Fallon has.