Here I go, torturing myself again. Re-running that day, that moment as I’ve done time and time again. How perfect it should of been, how awful it actually was.
It was Friday afternoon, we had just broken up for the summer holidays and loads of us had headed over to the park looking forward to six weeks of lazy, carefree summer days, just like this one. Six weeks under blue skies and not grubby, off white ceilings with the paint peeling off. Basking under a warming sun not the the flickery glare of fluorescent strip lights.
She was there, we had walked up together chatting and laughing all the way. I had hung back and waited for her, her beautiful smile beamed when she saw me waiting, her friends smirked. We fell back as we walked, separated ourselves from the other girls, just me and her, talking. About festivals and gigs. About her holiday last year. How I crashed my bike and how she fought with her sister. At the park it was the same, we were lost in each other, miles away from everyone else. We talked for hours. We were so comfortable with each other, laughing at story after story, chatting about anything and everything . No story was boring, no joke not funny.
At one point she was laid on her back and I on my front, my arms supporting my torso so my head was above hers, face to face. She had stopped talking and stopped listening. She was looking up at me, I was prattling on. Suddenly I realised the game had changed and stopped mid sentence, looking into her jade coloured eyes. This was as perfect a moment as could be but once it sunk in my insecurities rose to the surface to sabotage my summer. I started scrabbling for excuses to avoid taking the leap. Maybe she’s so comfortable with me because she knows she’s so out of my league and doesn’t dream I would ever try anything. Oh god, I’m her pet nerd! I bet she’s seeing an older guy out of school, that’s why she doesn’t hang around with the popular boys and is happy just to chill with me. Despite how obvious the signs look in retrospect I gather the ‘evidence’ to corroborate my insecurities. When I put my arm around her shoulder yesterday she didn’t reciprocate or smile, it just felt awkward. Come to think of it she never leans into me when we talk, or play with her hair. I’ve seen the way the girls act around Col and Gary, all fussy and flirty, she’s never like that with me. I project all the barriers my insecurities put up onto her. When I forgot myself and brushed the fiery red bangs from her face she seemed put out and flustered. I, of course, disregard the fact I built the anticipation but did not follow up with a kiss would more than likely be the cause of the confusion and awkwardness. I took the following period of coldness as a sure sign of me overstepping the mark rather than that I had made her vulnerable then rejected her.
As per usual my cowardice won out and now I looked for an escape route. Breaking the silence I stammered ‘What time is your tea?’
She blinked as she snapped out of the moment ‘Eh?’ ‘It’s getting late I said, do you have to be at home for supper?’ I explained, attempting to banish the source of my painful fears. She sat up and closed her posture realising I had toyed with her, made a fool of her again. ‘Er, no.’ she replied ‘Are you going?’ I shook my head, slightly panicked now my subconscious’ plan was working ‘No, No. I’ll stay if you want. What do you want to do?’. It was already too late though, she was already hurt and now she needed to escape ‘You’re right, it is getting on. I really should help my mum’. As she stood her natural and confident flow now deteriorated to a mumble ‘The cooking and that.’ ‘No, no, it’s not late! I’m going to stay anyway’ I said in desperation. ‘See you’ she said, hands clasped in front of her. She paused slightly unable to muster a smile or give me a quick peck on the cheek. With that she turned and left.
I went out to the park over the next couple of days but she was never there. I just sat around with the others miserable. I did manage to gather the courage to ring her, it only took four days, but she said she wasn’t well. She was distant and uncomfortable on the phone. I tried to banter and chat like we used to but it was obvious she just wanted to get off the phone.
So now I just replay that moment over and over, day after day and wish with all my soul I could rewind time back to that day, that moment and just lean forward and kiss her. She still lives round here and we bump into each other from time to time. In fact I saw her in that very park at the playground with her grandchildren last month. We say hello and talk a bit. It’s different now though.