One night was all we needed to drift seamlessly from awkward acquaintances who loved each other through screens, to budding lovers who awkwardly got to know each other in person.
Our first day out, we walked along Venice Beach. It was chilly. You were quiet. I still couldn't decipher your feelings.
My anxiety never left me. In all my life, it was the one thing I could count on to never leave.
Were you honest when you said you weren't disappointed? Were you quiet because you were thinking about how you could get away?
I took photos of you staring out into the water. You smiled here and there. Your smile was like a dream and I knew I shouldn't focus on your looks, but what was a boy like you doing on an online app with no profile picture?
We took off our shoes and socks and walked in the warm sand. We sank together, then pulled each other out, then sank together, and pulled each other out.
The beach was shockingly quiet. I could practically my heart screaming for you to be able to love me.
A few miles later, we found ourselves at the pier. We dipped our feet in the water to wash away the sand and slipped our socks on over wet toes.
The pier was packed. Mixtures of rap artists, country singers and the soft eloquence of a violin filled the air with waves of life.
We stopped in a photo booth. I squeezed in as much as I could, and you slid in next to me. The first photo snapped. Cute. Smiling. We still hadn't gotten used to taking photos together.
My courage decided to make a guest appearance. I puckered my lips at you. The countdown began.
10 - Lips puckered.
9 - My heart beat like an angry drummer during a high school band concert.
8 - My eyes were closed. What were you waiting for?
7 - My courage was regretting stopping by.
6 - My eyes started to open.
Then I felt them. Your lips against mine. Finally.
I opened my eyes. Lip on lip, you were staring at me. Awkward.
We almost broke contact because of the laughter bubbling in our throats.
I closed my eyes to avoid laughing. The photo snapped.
We collected our prize. My double chin was showing, but I wasn't about to mention how the photo highlighted the difference in our sizes.
I slipped it into my bag and we walked on, hand in hand.
The violinist played, overshadowing all the other noises around us. We stood nearby and watched the waves dance to each stroke of string.
Your hands were so soft. Tentative. Delicate.
They wisped across my arms and hands, little reminders that you were still near.
I wondered if you would leave at the end of this, and I'd never see you again. Was it responsible of me to allow myself to fall into you? Was it responsible for me to believe this could work?
Every piece of my logic strained in an effort to remind me how badly I've been hurt before, and how possible it is for me to be ripped apart and thrown out to sea after the end of our two weeks.
Wasn't it better to feel great love for a short time than never at all? My rationality sat down and made some space for blind optimism.
Our day at the pier coming to a close, we took an Uber and found ourselves on our way to another adventure.
My decision was made. I would love you with as much as I could afford to give.
It was now up to you to return it, or to leave me at the airport in two weeks with a final goodbye.