I glanced over at Jonah, who had hopped off the boulder and was now lying in the grass. We had decided, after trying to think of a place to go and failing, that we would just hike up the mountain to the special spot. I lay back on the boulder and stared up at the sky. Today was a beautiful day, but still cold. I had realized a moment too late while climbing up the hill on the way here that I had carelessly forgotten my jacket in Jonah’s car. He had cranked up the heat on the drive over, and I had taken it off. Now, as I lay slightly shivering, I regretted ever taking it off in the first place. I’ll just go get it from the car really quick, I decided. Leaning up and reaching out to grip a branch, I started climbing down. When I landed on the ground with a soft thud, Jonah looked up. He simply raised an eyebrow in question.
“I’m going to go back to the car,” I said, still shivering, “and get my jacket.”
He frowned slightly, and then looked at my bare arms. He sighed lightly and stood up. Shrugging off his sweatshirt, he held it out to me. Glancing at his skinny arms, I shook my head.
“No,” I said, “I’m not going to take your jacket. I’ll just go get mine from your car.”
He just looked at me and continued holding out his jacket.
I shook my head stubbornly. Walking around him, I said, “Can I have your keys? It’ll just take a second.”
He muttered something under his breath and then threw his sweatshirt at me. It landed on my head. I stood there, not removing it from the top of my head, slightly shocked. Inside, I was smiling. I took it off of my head and slipped into it. It was big on me, I realized. Well, Jonah was tall. I glanced up only to see Jonah walking away from me.
“Jonah!” I called after him.
He stopped, and glanced over his shoulder.
“Where are you going?”
“To get your jacket.”
“But I was going to go get it.”
He shrugged and kept walking.
I watched his retreating back until he was blocked by the trees. I glanced down at Jonah’s sweatshirt that had engulfed me. I felt myself smile slightly. Without thinking, I ducked my head inside the sweatshirt and inhaled. Again, I smelt mint and the other smell that I couldn’t quite place. I felt my smile widen, and I sat down on the ground, leaning back against the tree. Letting my head fall back against the trunk, my eyes fluttered shut and I sat there very still, relaxing.
I didn’t realize that I had fallen asleep until I felt my head being lifted, and I realized just how unaware I had been about what was going on. I then realized that I was lying down, and that my cheek was stinging a little. I felt someone’s warm hand on my neck and face, lifting my head. I pretended to be asleep to see what would happen. I then felt my head being lowered back down onto a soft cloth. The lack of sleep from the past couple of weeks suddenly took hold of me. I faintly heard the person moving away, and I allowed myself to fall back asleep.
What seemed like ages later, I felt myself surfacing from my deep slumber. I opened my eyes just a slit. Jonah was sitting in the grass, leaning up against the bolder and hugging himself. He must be cold. I thought he went to go get my jacket. What happened to that? A small sigh escaped my lips and I closed my eyes again. I was so tired. No amount of sleep seemed to be enough to quench my thirst for relaxation. I lay very still trying to go back to sleep. After what seemed like another thirty minutes, I gave up and opened my eyes again. Jonah was staring straight at me. When I caught him looking at me, he flushed and looked away. Was he watching me sleep? Deciding to ignore it for his benefit and not embarrass him anymore than he already was, I sat up. Glancing down at the ground to see what my head had been on, I saw my own jacket. Frowning, I glanced up at Jonah.
He looked at me. “Yeah?”
“Why was I sleeping on my jacket?”
He shrugged. “When I got back you were asleep and your head was on the rocks. So, I put your jacket underneath your head.”
I processed this for a moment. “Aren’t you cold?”
I stood up and grabbed my jacket off the ground. In actuality, it was my dad’s old jacket, so it would fit Jonah easily. Usually I wouldn’t let anyone touch it, because it was special. But I felt like with Jonah, it would be okay. I walked over to him and handed it over. He glanced at me and then at the jacket. He was probably wondering why I didn’t just give his jacket back and put on my own. But I didn’t want to do that. I liked wearing Jonah’s jacket.
He shrugged, seeming to get that, and took my jacket. He slipped it on and gave me a small smile.
I had never seen him smile before.
It lit up his face in the small moment that it was present. I felt my breath catch in my throat and my eyes widened. Never before had I seen a person’s face transform from a simple smile as much as Jonah’s had. I studied him, and then the impossible happened.
I smiled back at him.
He tilted his head and seemed to study me, too. His eyes roamed my face, making me blush. I shrugged and looked away. My heart was beating faster and I could feel my fingertips tingling.
“Dessy! You’re all grown up,” my dad said, smiling proudly at me.
I rolled my eyes. It was my first day at high school, and to say I was nervous would be an understatement.
“Come here and give me a hug, pretty girl.”
Even though at that time showing affection for your dad wasn’t cool, especially if you happened to be standing outside of school when you did it, it didn’t matter as much right then. So, quickly glancing around at the students who were filing into the school, I stepped forward and hugged him. He kissed the top of my head. When he released me, I felt a little sad. But instead of saying anything, I smiled at him.
“You’re so pretty when you smile, Dessy.”
I wrinkled my nose and waved goodbye. Turning around, I walked towards the school, my heart beating faster in my chest.
I felt myself smiling again, for the second time today in front of Jonah. But this time I wasn’t looking at Jonah. I was smiling at the memory while staring off into the distance. I felt a tear roll down my cheek, but it was a happy tear. Letting out a silent breath, I wiped it away and glanced back down at Jonah.
He was simply looking at me. “You do that a lot,” he said after a moment.
I sat down next to him, but not too close. “Do what?” I asked.
I shrugged. Surprising myself, I found myself telling him the truth. “I have flashbacks a lot.”
I felt Jonah turn to look at me. “Flashbacks?”
I nodded. “Of my dad. It’s just, like, memories. Certain things that I do trigger memories I had of my dad.”
“He must’ve been pretty great.”
I sighed. “He was amazing. He could make me laugh so easily, even when I was in a bad mood. He made my mom happy and got along with everyone. And even though he was an important businessman, he always made time for me and Mom. Always.”
I felt Jonah take my hand in his. He was comforting me. Glancing over at him, I noticed that our faces were very close.
“You know,” he said softly, “it’s okay to miss him.”
His breath warmed my face. It smelled of mint.
“I just feel like no one wants to hear it,” I admitted.
He gently squeezed my hand. “I’ll listen.”
My eyes started watering as my emotions went on a rollercoaster. No one had ever offered to listen. No one. I smiled for the third time today and squeezed his hand. “Thank you,” I whispered.
He simply nodded and turned his face away, seeming lost in thought.