It was that tightness in the center of my chest that kept me from speaking. Not one intelligent word could fight its way to the surface. And yet, the bubbly joy inside refused to be kept silent for a long enough period for things to become awkward. If nothing else, I wanted to keep Deme talking for the simple gift of hearing him speak. The fact that he spoke any words in my direction at all was a blessing, and I cherished every euphoric moment of it.
And yet...I was too scared to say anything. Everything was so perfect...I was afraid to be greedy and push it into an uncomfortable level of total 'lose', you know? He was just...stunning. My roaming eyes couldn't find a single flaw in his angelic presentation to the world. Not one. It's almost enough to make you feel inferior as a human being, being in his presence. It would be one thing if he was extremely gorgeous, but he was dull, or bland, or maybe even an asshole. But he's none of those things. He's just as intriguing and engaging on the inside as he is on the outside. It's almost like he had no clue how breathtaking he was in every possible way. As if he were clueless when it came to the effect he had on everybody within eyesight. How is that possible? HOW???
Yeah, it was an honor to have him want to just sit here in the shade in the park and talk to me. And with a few bashful peeks at one another and a few involuntary giggles...it seemed that we were involved in a conversation without words. One that excited me to the point of raising goosebumps on my skin. Wow. To think...the highly erotic nature of the moment came from nothing but sunshine, fresh air, a smile, and an extended silence. What a wondrous experience it is to fall for someone so special.
“I like this.” Deme said, finally shattering the hush that fell over us.
“The park?” I asked.
“Yes. It is quiet here. Back home, the parks close to my house are so crowded. Not that I don't like to be around other people, but there...the only time I get to be alone with my thoughts is when I am trapped in my bedroom.” He said. “Sometimes, I like to enjoy a bit of isolation...without actually being isolated.”
“I think I can understand that.” I said. “Home for me is my mom and my sister, and sometimes it gets to be a little bit 'crowded' there too. Just with the two of them. It's like...girls united, you know? I don't think my mom has any idea what makes me tick. Hehehe!”
“Yes! You understand.” Deme smiled. “Well, not 'girls united', but I often feel as though the people around me do not get it. I try to explain, but...it makes them more confused, I think.”
His accent was so elegant sometimes. It gave me the shivers to hear it. “Nobody said it was easy being different.” I said. I'm not even sure where the statement came from. Maybe it was me speaking from my heart instead of my head, like he said.
Deme replied, “I do not think I'm different. I believe we are all the same, just in different ways.” He thought about it for a second, then he giggled to himself. “Wait...perhaps I did not say that correctly. That does not make sense.”
But I said, “Actually, it kinda does make sense. In this really exquisite way. I think I get what you mean.”
He looked at me sideways with a smirk. “You pretend.”
“No! No pretend! Hehehe! It's like...we all want the same basic stuff out of life...but the motivations are different, you know? We just...need to figure out how to all reach the ultimate level of 'happy' in life before it's all over. And that means different things to different people. I guess on some plane of existence we're all alike in that respect. The devil is in the details, I suppose.” I wasn't looking at Deme when I said it, but the pause to follow it made me look up to see if he was still paying attention.
The look in his eyes was indescribable. It was open, unrestricted, infatuation. He stared right into my eyes and...I can't lie...it made me nervous. This frightening novelty was something that I had never experienced before. Between those queasy wiggles in my stomach, my shortness of breath, and the unintentional signal from my brain to start the 'instant erection' process...my body went completely haywire. Even when I forced m eyes back down on the blanket we were sitting on, my heart throbbed with a passion that threatened to cramp up the excited muscle and strike me dead right there on the spot.
Again, I was speechless.
Ok, genius...you started flirting and you've gotten his attention...so NOW what? Did I even have a plan in place after that? Would I even have the courage to go through with it if I did?
Lucky, twice in a row, Deme made the first move to progress our interaction a bit further. He shook off his current daze and said, “Hey, you want to see something really cool?”
As if I wasn't too busy swooning with love to say no. “Sure...”
Deme reached over and took a hold of my hand. That alone was enough to send an electric shock up my arm and into my spine where it quickly spread to the rest of my body with this festive vibration that caused me to nervously giggle out loud. That's when I saw Deme leaning over to the side to lay down on the blanket. Still trembling with boyish enthusiasm...I let him guide me down to lay beside him. Hehehe...we were ummm...we were close. Like, our shoulders were almost touching...but not quite. Still, I could feel a hint of his body heat from the close proximity. He was on his back and inspired me to mimic him as he looked up at the branches of the tree we were sitting under.
He asked, “Can you see it?”
I'm like, “See what?”
He said, “When I was little...I used to go to the large pond at the end of town, and look at the way the sunlight used to shimmer on the ripples of the water. I always thought it was so beautiful.” Deme sighed happily, and then added, “But other times...when I lay under a tree on a warm day, such as this one...I can almost see the same. Do you understand?” He asked.
“Sunlight? On water?”
“Yes. If you look at the leaves and the many branches...and the sun shining through them as the wind blows...it is almost 'same'.” Deme smiled, dreamily looking up at the branches above. “Just like ripples in the water. You see?”
I looked up and...after a moment of trying to see things from his perspective...I think I saw what he was talking about. It's like...the wind would blow...and the leaves would shake, the branches would bend slightly, and the sunlight would almost 'sparkle' as our shade was permeated by the rays of daylight. You could even hear the leaves shaking up there. It was...so beautiful. How did I go my whole life without ever noticing something like this before?
“Whoah...I think...I think I see it.” I said.
“You do, yes? Is pretty awesome, right?” Deme grinned, his accent tingling in my ear long after the sentence was spoken.
I smiled so wide that it hurt. Deme and I just laid there, side by side...looking up at the leaves as they swayed back and forth, and I felt as though I had been given a peek at a whole new world that I never knew existed before. A part of my brain tried to tell me that it was just a dumb old tree...but something about witnessing its beauty with Deme by my side made it so much more.
Deme was speaking in this really soft voice when he said, “I used to lay under a tree like this one...and I would see the leaves and the wind and the sun rays...and I would pretend that I was flying above the water. Looking down upon it, and appreciating the pond for everything that it was without so much as casting a shadow upon it. I know this sounds strange, but...it always made me feel as though I could see the unseen. That I could appreciate the world in a manner that many could not. It always brought me peace.” Then he turned his head to look at me, and he said, “It is what I feel, sometimes, when I look at you, Shane. Like...I can 'appreciate' you. In a way that no one else can. I guess that makes me feel special inside.”
“I think it makes me feel special too.” I said, but I kept my eyes focused up to the leaves. I'd melt into a complete mess if I had to look into those shiny brown eyes of his. Besides, I was trembling so badly that I'm surprised I was able to control the convulsions long enough to say anything at all. There was this intense 'pull' being forced on me that was almost too strong for me to resist. Only fear kept me from surrendering to the urge. A fear that was gradually fading away as I got to know him on a more intimate level. What will I do if it disappears completely? Will I ruin it all by losing my self control? Will I kiss him and get rejected? And if so...will it have been worth it? Just for that one taste of his lips?
Silence was the answer. For both of us.
We stared up at the leaves, who seemed to lightly applaud for us as a gentle breeze passed through them. I didn't say anything, but Deme appeared to be ok with us just being quiet for a few minutes. There's always this weird need to feel like you have to 'entertain' the people around you every second that you're together or else you start worrying whether or not you're being a lame waste of time. But I didn't feel that with Deme. I felt like...he was entertained just by having me there. Isolation without being isolated, except we were...together.
Yikes. Now I'm the one who's not making any sense.
It was then that I felt Deme shuffle, ever so slightly, beside me. He felt a bit closer, somehow. It made me smile, but I kept my eyes focused on the sky. And then...a touch. So subtle...so innocent...that I had to ask myself if it was just a random mistake or if he did it on purpose.
The way I talk about it, you'd think that he just brazenly rolled over and grabbed my crotch or something. But he didn't. That's not the kind of touch that I'm talking about. His...his pinky finger touched my pinky finger. Gently. SO gently. With both of us laying on our backs, our arms down at our sides...it might have just been an accident. Right? At least, that's what I was thinking until a minute later. I hadn't really reacted or pulled away from him after the first touch of our fingers. I think Deme took that as a sign to maybe try again. And this time...he was a little more bold in letting me know that he was actually trying to get a reaction out of me. Not in a blatantly sexual way or anything. He just...he stretched his finger out to tap and lightly rub my own in a way that let me know that he wanted me to notice this time.
Believe me...I noticed.
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