The smell of flowers is powerful but not overwhelming. Everywhere I look there is colour. A spattering of pink to my left and a cluster of blue flowers to my right. In front of me is an expanse of grass specked with reds and oranges, purples and yellows. The air feels rich and alive, as if it in itself were a living being. Wrapping itself around my thin frame and spreading its fingers to graze the soft petals.
I lean back and let myself fall carelessly onto the soft ground; the grasses my mattress and the wind my quilt. Tips of green lick my face and tickle my bare feet. I gaze up at the sky, the sun settled high on a cloudless blue.
Footsteps sound from behind me. I prop myself up onto my elbows and turn my head.
It’s Jack. The boy who was there by my side the day I learned to ride my bike when I was six. The boy who sat with me that day at the principal’s office after I punched that girl in the face because she said something mean about him. The boy who went to the book store with me time after time even though it takes hours for me to choose which one I want. Jack. The boy who doesn’t know how I feel about him.
He makes his way towards me, careful not to crush the flowers in his path. He sits down with his legs crossed as much as they possibly can be because he’s so tall. “I thought you’d be here.”
I nod and lie my head back down. Jack follows suit, straightening his legs. “Isn’t it so beautiful?” I ask him, focusing my stare on him. His face is framed by his caramel coloured hair and grass that matches his eyes.
This time it’s his turn to nod. He opens his mouth to say something but quickly closes it again. “What?”
“Never mind,” he says.
“No, tell me.” I try to keep my expression firm and serious as if I’m being stern but it turns into a smile.
I shift onto my side. “And why is that?”
Jack closes his eyes for a moment before opening them again. “Because I don’t know how you’re going to react.”
“You know how you could find out?”
“How?” His eyes brighten.
“By saying whatever it is you were going to say and listening to me.”
He sighs and runs a hand through his hair. “You’re even more beautiful than any of this.”
And then there’s not much to listen to. I smile and he wraps his arms around me and pulls closer to him. I press my forehead to his and we look into each other’s eyes. The wind is there again, drawing us closer to each other than ever before. His lips brush mine cautiously at first as if he still isn’t sure about his actions. But his confidence grows as I close my eyes and press my lips passionately against his.
I feel his muscles tense as I reach my arms around his neck but only for a moment. He relaxes and the kiss softens. It’s gentle, sweet. And then it stops and we just lie there in each other’s arms and even though I’m so small compared to him he makes me feel so big. So important. So valuable.
“Thank you,” I whisper. I don’t quite know what I’m thanking him for. Maybe his compliment or the realization that he feels the same way about me. Or maybe I’m thanking him for the feeling. The feeling of worth that is still washing over me.