It was dark, and the cold seemed to penetrate my thin coat. I was dressed like Katniss Everdeen, my brown hair in a Dutch braid that twisted around the nape of my neck, my “arena” coat falling just past my waist. I’d just finished seeing the Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, in the theaters with my boyfriend.
He stood in front of me, my best friend, the man I loved. For several moments, we held each other’s gazes steady, and I drank in the love I saw in his blue eyes that I used to admire from afar. In their purest moments, unchained from any care in the world, they’re like the untouched water of a pool of pure water. Through his eyes he speaks a love like no other I’ve ever encountered on this earth, a love that reaches deep inside of me and caresses the places of my heart that only he has ever touched.
Our breaths intermingled in a foggy cloud in front of our mouths, our silent exhales slowly dissipating into the night. He wrapped his arms around me, and I rested my head on his chest, wishing for a thousand more moments like this one, where I’d be safe in his arms, where it felt like no harm in this world could ever touch me.
I clung to his warmth which reached my chilled body, and I wrapped my own arms around the middle of his back, inhaling the familiar comforting scents that emanated from his skin and soft black coat. They were the scents of my sweetheart, my darling, the ones that one day, I could only dream of falling asleep breathing in only to wake up the next morning wrapped in.
“Thank you for tonight,” I whispered, my ear against his chest, listening to the steady beating of his heart. “It was so special to me. I really appreciated you buying me dinner and taking me to the movie. That was really thoughtful, and I’m very grateful.”
“Mhm,” I felt him nod slightly, his chin briefly touching my forehead, and the palm of his hand cupping the back of my head as he smoothed down my slightly puffy Katniss braid that I’d worked so hard on earlier that evening. “I love you,” he whispered into my ear, and I smiled, tucking myself further into his embrace.
“I love you too,” I replied.
I looked up now, losing myself in his sweet blue eyes again, and then I kissed him on the lips, my hand finding its way to his cheek where I touched his soft, clean-shaven skin. I let my lips linger on his for just a moment before he brushed his nose against mine, an affectionate gesture I’ve always enjoyed.
“Goodnight,” I said, pulling away hesitantly. I hated goodnights. We were standing on my porch, and my hand was still interlocked with his as I stepped away.
“Goodnight,” he replied, and with that sense of finality, we let our hands separate.
I faced my front door now, unlocking it quietly so I wouldn’t wake my sleeping family, and when I turned back to get one last glimpse of him, he had already rounded the corner, on his way to his car, vanished into the night.
Already, I could feel the warmth he’d left me with disappearing. I wished I could go with him, fall asleep in bed beside him, dreaming my dreams and knowing that in the morning when I woke up, he’d still be there. I wished I could save the feeling he left me with, the sense of comfort, and safety, the warm heart and stilled worries. But like memories fade, the feeling slowly fades, and it, like my breath, began to slowly dissipate.
If only I could have gone with him.
For now, this is the way of things, and it is fine. In fact, it is a treasure. There’s always a “grass is always greener” effect in this life.
When I was single, I always thought it would be better in a relationship. In a relationship, trust me, there are times where both he and I wish we were single again. Even this week we had one of those moments. And in a marriage, I’m sure there will be plenty of times where we will wish we could go back to dating again. It’s kind of how it works.
But tonight, on the porch, I let myself forget all of the past ups and downs he and I have had as we try to learn and understand the innate differences that exist between man and woman. I let myself forget about my desire, many times, to become his wife, to never have to say goodbye to him on the front porch again.
But I only get to do this once in my life.
I work with geriatric patients, many of whom are widowed, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that almost every single one of them would give anything to go back in time to an evening much like the one I just had, where they are standing on a porch with their beloved, bidding a romantic goodnight. I bet you every single one of them wishes for just one more kiss, one more embrace. But me, I’m buried in more kisses and embraces than I know what to do with, and right now, I’m content.
As simple and unexciting as tonight was, I’m sure that one day, when my hair is grayed, this will be a night I’ll look back on with fondness, a night I’ll remember as a time where I first began re-falling in love with my best friend all over again. I wish for many more years of re-falling in love with this man. Not just years, but days, minutes, moments. And in the days, minutes, or moments when he and I are at odds, I wish to remember nights like tonight, nights where he stole my heart all over again, caught my breath in my throat, made me nervous to kiss him, like it was our first kiss again.
It is forgettable nights like tonight that I hope never to forget.