They were walking along a quiet dusty road, where the sound of car tyres rolling slowly along gravel was the only sound that accompanied their voices, when the topic turned to love. They were walking side by side, their fingers almost touching as they walked comfortably beside each other. He started the conversation, asking her if she was lonely. She looked at him with vague confusion written across her face.
‘What I mean is, don’t you get lonely sometimes?’ he asked, a slight blush forming on his cheeks which was barely visible in the growing darkness, ‘Don’t you want a boyfriend?’
She raised her eyebrows in sudden deep thought, her forehead wrinkling as she pondered in a way that made his stomach flip. Her mouth curled as she looked towards the ground, then finally looked up and stared at him with wide brown eyes, brown eyes he’d grown to love.
‘Not especially,’ she said, shrugging, ‘I mean, sometimes when I see couples, I feel a little stab of loneliness. But most of the time, I’m fine being single. I’m not interested in a relationship just yet.’
And with that she turned and started walking slightly faster, turning her head to smile. He was frozen to the ground, so she came back, took his hand and led him forward, like a guard dog with a blind master.
As they walked through the pools of golden light spilling from the streetlights, she asked him, ‘What about you? Are you lonely?’
He dropped her hand, lowered his head so she couldn’t see his eyes properly. ‘A little. Sometimes.’
Her eyes widened suddenly as an idea struck her. ‘You’ve found somebody, haven’t you?’
Right there, he wished the world would swallow him up, that the cracks in the pavements could open and he would be swallowed deep into their crevices. He wished he could disappear away from this conversation; why did he have to bring it up in the first place? But instead, he sighed and gave a small, almost imperceptible nod.
She gasped, and was going to jokingly hit his arm and begin to tease when she realised how serious he looked. She decided to try something different.
‘What’s she like?’ she asked softly, cocking her head slightly to the side.
A million thoughts ran through his mind. She was beautiful, kind, on a whole different world from everyone else. Her smile and laughter could light up a room Her quirky habits frowned upon by most fascinated him. He could stare into her eyes for a million years, getting lost inside her amazing mind. Finally he managed to choke out, ‘She’s pretty amazing.’
With that, he raised his head and looked her straight in the eye. ‘She’s absolutely amazing.’
Their eyes locked in a sudden moment of electricity, understanding passing through them like a thunderbolt. Her eyes widened and her lips parted, a small ‘o’ shape forming on her lips. His eyes remained fixed on her complex beauty, her everything.
Eventually she half-whispered, ‘Why don’t you go for her then? If she’s so amazing?’
His mouth twisted into a small grimace, his yes shadowing over in hurt. ‘She’s not interested in a relationship.’
This time she could not stop a real gasp escaping her lips. Surely he couldn’t mean her? But the way his eyes were focused on her, never leaving her gaze, spoke the truth. She was the one for him. And when she saw the look of hurt in his eyes, the cracks of lost hope, she wanted to take him in her arms and hold him forever.
‘She’s not interested in a relationship, just yet,’ she said slowly, her lips forming a small smile, ‘But there’s always tomorrow, you know.’
A smile spread across his lips, his eyes gaining their shine once more. She leaned forward, kissed him briefly on the lips to show him she meant it. A fleeting moment, small but so full of meaning, a small spark for a firework’s explosion. And as she kissed him, she couldn’t help but keep a wide smile off her face. Butterflies fluttered in their stomachs and threatened to carry them off into the night sky, and their hearts beat like kick drums. And after this one perfect moment, this one perfect kiss, they just stopped and stared at each other. Boy and girl. Friends up until then, and now something much more. A question now answered, the puzzle solved, and a perfect solution found.
And so they turned and walked off, through pools of golden glow and past slow cars out on late night drives, a boy and girl side by side, their fingers touching slightly, electric sparks passing between the two as they walked comfortably beside each other and through the night.