Trailing a few footsteps behind him, I couldn’t help but gaze wistfully at the way he picked up his feet when he walked, the way the sun struck his back and the way he stared down every time he found himself rambling. There was this fog between us, so thick and dense that it almost felt palpable. He was distant and I hated knowing him this way.
“What?” he asked after turning around and dexterously walking backward as though he were some Senior sweet talking a Freshman by walking her to class just to finagle her heart.
I instinctively smirked and my cheeks flushed with crimson red. “Just thinking about that time in your Chevy.”
“You mean Aaron’s Chevy?”
No. I borrowed it to impress you. Remember?”
“I must have forgotten,” I said sullenly.
Silence swelled the space between us, immediately after the fog abated.
“What were you thinking?” he finally said, after, perhaps, trying to suppress the million-dollar question.
He stopped walking and waited for me to catch up with him. “No, please.”
“I…I was just thinking about that cassette tape in his car that played ‘Take It Easy’.”
“…His obsession with the Eagles, man. God, I miss that guy.”
“ And how the first few seconds of that song cut off.”
“Aaron blows at precision,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck.
“…And there’s a part that goes, ‘na, na, na, na…’” I paused to find him staring at me with unbridled fascination that made me want to leap into his arms. I deleted those thoughts and continued. “‘Na, na…I’ve got seven women on my mind. Four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me, one says she’s a friend of mine.’“
“You’re so cute.”
“What? I don’t want to butcher the lyrics,” I said, beaming. “I had always imagined you thinking about me every time that last line played.”
“Isn’t that funny? The very idea of us imagining others thinking about us. Very narcissistic.”
“Or self-less,” I said with veracity.
He said nothing at first. “But why?”
I shrugged. I turned to face him, yet only to look away again. His stare seemed beguiling, even threatening, so threatening that I almost looked for a window to crack open to allow some fresh air in.
“Well, if I’m one of seven on your mind I wouldn’t want to stone you or own you…In the least, I’d rather be your friend.”
His smile waned for reasons I couldn’t grasp. He said nothing the next several seconds after—the breeze responding for him—until there to my dismay, the fog rolled back in as though it had never left, as though it had the right.