want to fall in love
“…want to fall in love?”
After a morning trying to keep up with Lin, I lay flat in the rocky path, staring up into the white sky. But my head snapped up at her comment.
Between crumpled breaths, I asked, “What was that?”
Lin sat on her pack like it was a stool. She looked at me and wrinkled her brow.
“I said,’I want to fall in love.’”
I propped myself up on my elbows and looked out across the valley. The dark green didn’t look like any shade we had back home. Sheep, picturesquely, dotted the hillsides.
I thought about the first time I met Lin. She was in the library reading Transitions to Agriculture in Prehistory. I tried to flirt with her- complained how all this homework was keeping us up so late. She nodded politely. I asked what class the book was for. She regaled me with Hayden’s model postulating that agriculture grew from feasting as a display of great wealth. I’d never been more rapt.
Lin returned her attention to the view. She wouldn’t explain herself unless I pressed. It wasn’t in her nature to volunteer personal details. She’d assume I already understood exactly what she meant.
“What are you suggesting there, Eveline?” I asked.
She sighed and took out her pocket knife. I thought too about how Silva and I met. The story was cute. We always said it’d be a good one to tell our grandchildren.
“I miss it. That’s all. It’s been a while. Those first days when you can’t stop thinking about him, wondering what kind of music he listens to, what his favorite book is. That electric moment when your hands touch. That awkward space when one of you leans in to kiss and you can’t be sure how the other one’s going to respond.”
I looked at her hands. They were stubby and calloused. She used her knife to pick dirt from under her fingernails.
Silva painted her nails bright red whenever she wanted to look good. The apartment’s windows were always open to let out the smell.
“Yeah.” I knew what she meant. “Can I have an apple?”
“Before we make it to the top?”
“You’re so impatient.” She smiled and shook her head. She snapped the knife closed and reached into her pack to remove a bag of Granny Smith apples.
“Yes, I demand instant satisfaction.”
She stepped over me. I squinted to see her face in the bright sun. She held the apple over me by the stem. It spun slowly in one direction and then the other.
“It’s never going to work, though. I should just go and find some dude in a bar.”