. . . a memory that never was . . .
The cobalt and cerulean lights shimmered between the shadows as Peter took Lena’s hand. “Would you like to dance?” he asked, a teasing grin on his face, highlighting his dimples. She looked up into his smiling face and nodded, a blush warming her cheeks.
Though Lena was a bit awkward on first glance, soft streaks of blond in her chestnut brown hair and her wide eyes ringed in heavy eyeliner, her smile was sincere. Her lips were chapped and dry and her teeth were crooked, yet Peter saw past that.
To Peter, Lena was beautiful.
The song was slow, and though he was a boy with frenetic energy throughout the school day, he held Lena like a lullaby. When she glanced up at him, her chocolate eyes sparkled. The two swayed back and forth, his arms wrapped softly around her waist, her head on his shoulder.
The quiet was unusual for them. Despite the three-year age difference – or perhaps because of it – Lena and Peter often bickered and teased one another like siblings. The hum of the guitar melody fell over them like a gentle, summer rain. His bright blue-green eyes were turbulent, planets swirling near the black holes of his pupils. The only sound other than the music was the swish of Lena’s dress as he spun her around the dance floor.
She giggled, dizzy, as the blue lights glittered and reflected the sheen off her fancy dress. Peter tilted the girl’s face so he could look into her eyes.
Neither spoke, but a swarm of butterflies had been released in the pit of Lena’s stomach. She cleared her throat, peering at her friend. Something about the moment made him look handsome as he had hummed the melody into her ear. “Hey, Peter,” she mumbled as the song began to end, feeling clumsy with both her feet and her words, “want to see something magical?”
His grin grew wider. “Of course.”
She led him out of the gymnasium, ignoring the stares of her classmates. The music began to fade as she guided him into the fields beyond the school property. Honeysuckle bushes lined the border between the school grounds and what lie beyond.
“Have you ever tasted a honeysuckle?” she asked, her voice soft. “I have many memories of honeysuckle.” A bashful smile flickered across her face.
“And I have memories of your memories,” Peter responded with a touch of poetry to his words.
Leaning close to the bushes, Lena plucked a blossom, bit the tip of it off and spit it into the woods, then she tilted her head back. A wild bird Peter could never hold captive, he realized as he stared at her in astonishment.
She gestured to the bushes, suggesting silently he do the same. As the honey met his lips, a smile crossed his face. “Lena,” he said, his voice not its usual tease, “don’t let anyone steal your magic. They will try to box you and contain you. Always promise me you’ll break free.”
The girl searched her friend’s face for signs of humor, but his eyes were fixed on her.
“Promise me?” he insisted.
She nodded silently as she slipped out of her borrowed high heels. “I have always wondered what happens next,” she admitted.
“Trees are where I go to run away,” Peter whispered, “when the rest of the world is sleeping, I stare at the stars through the branches. I wish I could tell you I think poetry or philosophy, but the truth is my mind empties.” He slipped out of his loafers and looked to the girl.
“Want to climb?” she asked, her voice breaking with unbidden and unexpected emotion.
“With you, I would go anywhere,” he confessed. It was that night that Lena and Peter would accept that their friendship went too deep. It was a dark pool both had decided to plunge into, and after that night, it would never be the same nor could it go back to what it was.