“Thank you for making me happy,” I whispered to the fully asleep and apparently smiling about some dream I don’t know about young lady lying down by my side. I couldn’t sleep; and it wasn’t because my best friend’s legs didn’t know a thing about staying still. No it wasn’t. To be honest, I didn’t know why I was awake. Besides 1 : 15 AM wasn’t my favourite time on the clock. There were so many things flashing past in my head that it wasn’t long till I tripped on my own thoughts. I just couldn’t keep up. My eyes began to leak, and I couldn’t frame ‘my yawn’ for causing it. “Who am I kidding? I really am crying.” I was tired! Tired of waiting for a big music break to come my way, tired of picking myself up every morning to go to class and still not figure out what I’m going to do with whatever was being taught. I was tired of waiting for something to happen. And what made it all complex was that I didn’t know what to expect. All the cards had been laid on the table and I was still waiting for life to hand me whichever it wanted. Simply put, I didn’t know what to do with the lemons life gave me. I definitely didn’t intend to make lemonade out of them. “I don’t even know how lemonade tastes,” I thought in an attempt to reply to my inner voice.
“But you; you steal me from all my worries and fears. I don’t know how you do it and if it’s intentional but don’t stop Sweets. Don’t stop. You are my blanket in this cold cold world.” Still sleeping, her response was a cute long intake of breath and another kick. I couldn’t help but giggle. 1 : 56 AM.
“OmG Jim!! We really have to watch the Pursuit of Happyness!!!” I said for the 5th time in an exciting row. Since its release 11 years ago I had seen it only twice. And the second time was on the same day I watched the first. I couldn’t help myself the first time I watched it. It’s my favourite movie for obvious reasons and I had never watched it with Jim. That had to change. “Hehe, slow down Tiger,” Jim insisted. “We’d buy the CD on our way back home yh. Sounds good?” I nodded yes while trying to hold back the shy smile that crept along my lips. Jim didn’t sleep too well. I could tell from how moistened up his eyes had gotten and the way he dragged his words. I hope I didn’t go all karate chop on him while I slept. I had an idea!!
She led me into the the school’s gym. Actually she dragged me. Like a cute puppy making sure whoever it was that was walking it wasn’t going to stop it from reaching that sweet goodness it had just scented. “What are we doing here Love?” I asked. “It’s closed for the day.” She clearly let my question fall on deaf ears as she kept on pulling. And then I got it. The swimming pool. It was out of bounds. Only the squad in the school Swim Team were allowed to dive in. And even that permission was only granted for practice. Before I could talk her out of her head she started unbuttoning her top. “Shoot me!” I said while staring.
“Come on in Jim! The water is so warm,” she yelled when from inside the pool. She knew I would. I always followed her right into trouble and it was ridiculous because half the time, I knew we would get caught. But then I couldn’t let her go through any punishment alone. It would be more punishing to me if that happened. So, I hop on her ‘ c’mon this would be fun’ express and prep myself for the stress of getting caught.
I cannoned in, completely naked as her. This off road adventure wasn’t preplanned so we didn’t have our swimming stuff on us. Our clothes and underwear had to stay dry if we were going to get passed the school security without suspicion.
He actually did it. He jumped in. I had walked in on him while he showered a couple of times before just because I couldn’t hold in my pee any longer. Our apartment came with one bathroom that had the W.C a lather spill distance away from the bath you see. But even then we struggled to kill the weirdness that erupted after. And now we were in the pool buck naked! I didn’t dare look down. After a couple of splashes, I realised Jim was wide awake now. Enough to get him through two hours of The Pursuit of Happyness at least. I bit my lower lip every time our eyes met and fought the thoughts that followed. Looking away helped until I felt his hand find mine. My heartbeat took that as a cue to knock against my chest at a pace I’d never felt before. My mouth completely dried up and swallowing got harder.
She has the most beautiful eyes. Deep yet pretty. In it, I could see past her present and into her past. I always got lost whenever I travel in that far. Fighting the urge to hold her close was a battle I knew too well. My hands completely went rogue this time and my brain just let it slide. With one hand climbing across her lower back and the other one reaching for her chin, even I was curious to see what I was up to. The water helped me pull her closer and my index and thumb did a good job raising her head so she can resume looking into my eyes. That was how far I could go the last time I forgot to fight my urges back. “I’ve always wanted to kiss you.”
I melted. Who is this guy? After the nights Dad used to come into my room and the day that janitor took my life from me, Jim was the one carefully fitting my pieces back together. I vowed to hate anything masculine yet I always wanted Jim near. And now I was melting. This made me love him more despite the alarms it raised in my head. “I want to kiss you too Jim.”
And then I saw him move in. With my face gently cushioned in between his hands I closed my eyes and waited for lips to grace mine any moment from then. I opened my eyes when I felt him plant a kiss on my forehead and suddenly I began crying. We weren’t ready for anything deeper and he knew it. My tears came with a series of ‘thank yous’ and ‘I love yous’. And finally, “Don’t leave me’s” as he hugged me tight.
What happened back at the pool left me feeling all mushy inside. I was proud of myself for staying true to myself and proud of her for her strength. Honestly, I knew very well I wouldn’t have been able to walk a step in her shoes. They would have been too heavy with all the pain that filled them. Yet she still smiled. She says I am the reason she has her life back and that has never stopped getting me emotional. I was glad to have her lie in my arms everyday and even more to have her in my life. Now sharing a duvet, we snuck in close and allowed The Pursuit of Happyness refill our hope tanks.
For me, happiness came in bundled in the most beautiful lady I had ever laid eyes upon. There’s still a lot about my life I don’t know but what I do know is that God designed her to teach me what true love really means.
“The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists, and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted me to believe that I wasn’t good enough, would be stilled.”
― Chris Gardner,