We sat on the green couch and ate cookies. Chocolate chip. I’d called my mom for the recipe the day before. And when I made them, I imagined you eating them. Savoring. Licking the salt from your fingers with the last, buttery bite. We were there to study. It was the last week of the semester and I needed your help before finals. So I baked you cookies as my way of saying thank you with a side of, “You are the only boy who makes me laugh. My heart feels different when I’m with you. Please love me.”
We went through my notes. They weren’t as complete as yours and so I filled in the blanks. I borrowed your pen. It was the best pen I’d ever used. It formed each letter like it had a purpose greater than just being a part of a whole. We went downstairs to look up some fact in the old volumes that they put in the back room. The room where I’d imagined kissing you. We got closer to the old bookshelves and to the room and I grew suddenly dizzy. I hoped you could read my mind. That you knew what I wanted. That you felt the same. I made you sit in that old blue chair. I said I had a question to ask you. That it was very important and I needed you to tell me the truth. I looked at the ring on my finger and then back at you. I knew this moment could change everything. I shoved the bag of cookies back at you. “Do you want another?” You didn’t. And so I went into it. I’d heard that you said I shouldn’t get married. That I was making a mistake. I pointed my umbrella at you. I asked you not to lie. I nervously ate a cookie. I waited. You squirmed. Smiled. Looked at me with eyes that sparkled even in that dimly lit library basement and said that I should do what makes me happy. “Who am I to know what’s best for you, silly?”
“Oh,” I ached back.
Later that week, I drove you home from a goodbye party we had for a friend. It was the last time I’d see you before graduation. I handed you a card filled with words I'd toiled over. You reached over to give me a hug. Your hair smelled like laundry detergent. We’d been listening to ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me.’ I felt the irony choking my ring finger like a noose. You told me to be good and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I never did see you at graduation.