Remember the old high top chairs out back, our chairs? The ones we took out of my grandpa’s old shed? We put them by the river bend and talked our adolescence away. It’s hard to think that was five years ago, maybe if I had known then what we both know now it could have been different?
You were my best friend you know? I liked the way all the other girls at school would snicker as I walked past them. I was standing next to you and you wanted me there. You chose me. Of course it wasn’t the same for them as it was for me. I was never in love with you. Had I know then that you felt the opposite…well…well maybe I wouldn’t have let it get to where it went.
It was after that spring shower, remember? The water had risen in the river; everyone cried it was going to be a one hundred year flood, the worst of its kind. But we didn’t care. All we cared about was that the water was finally high enough that we could dive in without hitting our heads.
I miss those endless hours of watching your skin glisten as you would call me to jump in after you. I can almost hear it, “Nina, come in! Come on!” We were still innocent then, you know? Like we had everything and wanted nothing. Well not until that night when you wanted to know more. Remember what you asked me?
“Do you wonder if?” you asked your head down avoiding my eyes as your voice began to trail off. We were sitting on the cold ground. Your hands rustled with the weeds while your mind wrestled with your thoughts.
“Do I ever wonder if what?” I replied as I spit the sun flower seeds out of my mouth. The sun was setting and there was a slight breeze that sent a chill through my wet body and caused goose bumps. I had no idea what you were talking about.
I was a sixteen year old country girl who had been raised by her daddy and brothers. Men were nothing but best friends and allies to me. So you can imagine my confusion when you leaned in and kissed me there. On that sacred land, our land, our spot, next to our chairs.
I didn’t pull away. But I didn’t return either. I guess I was old enough to wonder what it all felt like. But looking back I think should have stopped you when you pulled me closer. When your hand began to push against the small of my back and found its way under my shirt. It didn’t even register when you began to lean me back so softly and your grip so strong I didn’t feel the ground moving closer to me.
“I’ve always wanted this with you,” you said. “You whispered it so low and soft that my head felt hazy as a soft sensation shot up my spine.
I suppose in that moment I wanted it too.
I can’t remember when or how my clothes came off. But I do remember the softness of your touch, the gentleness in your voice, and love in your actions. It was the first for us both.
Standing here now, I see the decaying chairs untouched since that sunset five years ago. I feel the loss in my heart for my friend who will no longer speak to me. Afterwords you were so happy, jubilant even. And me? Well it’s funny how one moment of your life; one choice can throw you into a whirlwind of uncertainty. After that moment I no longer knew who I was. I no longer knew why I felt the way I felt. I know longer knew you.
I guess all I wanted to do in coming here today was to say, “I’m sorry.”