Short Story by Avery O Daniel

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The following is an untitled short story by junior Avery O Daniel.

The couch let out a breath of air as we collapsed on it. Music blasted from the TV while you leaned against the arm of the sofa, which was as blue as the water at the bottom of the ocean. Pictures of adolescence littered the light yellow walls. Your touch was like a portal to another world, taking away all my worries and leaving me in complete bliss. Your scent encased me and trapped me by your side.

You smelled like the Northern Lights: something inexplicable and couldn’t possibly live up to anyone’s description of it. The film gradually introduced the characters and the plot. 4 out of the 6 lightbulbs that were supposed to shine overhead were broken. My hands shook and butterflies erupted in my stomach. Your arms snaked around me and your hands rested on me haphazardly. You were the first summer day after 3 seasons of clouds. You left sunshine and flowers wherever you went.

We lay intertwined on the couch as the movie went on. Few words were exchanged, but laughter filled the room at jokes we didn’t need to make out loud. Your laugh felt like the first bite into a chocolate covered strawberry. Tomorrow didn’t exist, and yesterday didn’t either. The only thing that mattered was the feeling of your heartbeat and the heat from your hands on my stomach. It was simple and innocent; our limbs were intertwined and hung off the too-small couch, the smell of a litter box drifted over from the bathroom and permanently hung in the air, it was just too cold but not cold enough for a blanket, and we didn’t fit perfectly into each other’s arms like the movies made us believe.

We were shy and naïve. No kisses were shared, just nervous giggles and sweet nothings. My hair was in your face and your mouth and I was so embarrassed but you didn’t mind. I intertwined our fingers and your breath hitched. Meaningless “I love you”s fell from your lips and tasted like bubblegum flavoured lollipops. Nothing like the real thing, but was close enough that I savoured every letter and syllable and word every time that phrase left your mouth.

My head rested on your chest and your elbow dug into my side and my body flattened yours and both of us were uncomfortable but this was as close as we could get without crossing the line so we were just fine with the various pains. Gradually, your eyes closed and your breathing slowed and I continued to lay on your chest, listening to the air enter and exit your lungs and your heart pump inside your ribcage.

I couldn’t move even if I wanted to; your arms were still wrapped around me, keeping me close. I looked up at your face and marveled at the shape of your lips and the paleness of your eyelashes and the sharpness of your jawline yet the softness of the rest of you and your nose and your hair that was messy but absolutely perfect.

I didn’t want to wake you. I liked it when you slept, for you were so beautiful but so unaware of it. I liked the warmth of your body against mine. I liked being with you. Wrapped up in your arms and listening to your heartbeat, that was my favourite place to be because time didn’t exist and nothing else mattered.