It was the end of sophomore year in May of the year 2000 and I was falling for Eddie hard and fast.
We spent every night on the phone until 1 or 2 in the morning, never running out of things to say and never hanging up until one of us fell asleep. Any apprehension I had about dating him had disappeared. He was so honest it was disarming, willing to talk openly about his feelings and mine and genuinely interested in anything I could possibly have to say about any given topic.
It had only been two weeks since Olympic Day, but it felt like years. We had gone on a few official dates to the movies and made out for hours in front of the likes of Battlefield Earth, the worst John Travolta movie ever made (or so I hear, I didn’t get to see much of it), and Shanghai Noon. (Another piece of cinematic gold, that one.)
Our school was having a movie night where they would be moving couches into the cafeteria and playing The Sixth Sense on a large portable screen.
I wore a sleeveless black crushed velvet top with an Asian symbol I didn’t understand printed on the front in silver glitter. It will never fit again, but I still have that shirt folded in a box under our bed because that night was special.
I applied clear, cherry flavored roll-on lip gloss because I already knew he liked it.
I had seen The Sixth Sense when it was in theaters, so I wasn’t as nervous as I normally would be to see a scary movie. The flitter in my belly was excitement this time. Excitement to see him, to touch him, to talk to him in person.
Eddie kissed me hello and led me to a seat on an old fashioned settee with burgundy upholstery that was typically used as a prop for the theater department. He sat on my left and put his arm around my shoulders. I tucked my legs up onto the couch and, swinging my feet to the right, I leaned into him. We were on school property and there were teachers there, but nobody tried to stop our kanoodling.
The movie started and there were a few times that I buried my eyes in the open Hawaiian shirt he wore over a “wife beater” tank top. (That look was popular at the time. I have no idea why.) Sometimes I would just state up at him and he would look down and smile.
On one of the occasions he caught me staring he titled his head and mouthed, “I love you.” It was only as soft as his exhale and for a second I wasn’t even sure that it was real because I hadn’t heard the words, only thought I read them on his lips. Regardless, I knew how I felt so I whispered “I love you,” leaving off the “too” just in case he hadn’t said it after all and I was accidentally making the first move.
He closed his eyes, took a breath, then looked at me and smiled a small, shy smile before bending down for a cherry-flavored kiss.