You slipped on the ice and I grabbed your arm, found myself falling with you. You were tiny, always you-sized, and though your heel should have acted like an ice pick, gravity always pulls us back down. The Reflecting Pool at the Christian Science Center had become a perilous tundra; it was probably about 7 degrees out—with the wind chill, somewhere negative, just like Boston Januaries often are. Still I braved the cold, like I always would for you, and we fell.
“I’m lost!” you yelled inside the bar. I could barely hear you from the couch at my apartment where I’d been waiting for you for the last 4 hours.
“Well, it sounds like you’re in a bar…” I said into that Bluetooth headset that my mother bought me for Christmas and you hated so much.
“But I don’t know where the bar is!” Yep. You were wasted. We had a date that night—we were supposed to have a date that night, anyway. We’d watch Heroes and eat Chinese, curl up, find warmth in one another, and finally spend a night together, a night just like the one we’d both dreamed of but neither could admit. You would come over after your Holiday party at work—you were only going to go for a few hours—but with all that free Champagne you were quickly whisked away. But you called, because you always call, and I swooped in to find you wandering the Back Bay streets in those pointy-toed leopard print heels that matched the silky slip you hid for me beneath your dress.
“No! I’m sorryyy I ruined our date!” you cried as I helped you get your balance again.
“No, you didn’t. It’s fine, we—”
“Yes! I did! We were supposed to—”
“—have a date tonight and we were gonna watch Heroes and—”
“—and eat Foodwall and-and then I got drunk!”
“It’s fine. Really!”
“I don’t want to be drunk anymore!” you cried and I pulled you close to me, kissed your lips with a passion I’d held in check for far too long; I didn’t know what to expect once I gave myself over to it, but a kiss like that was one that I had never had before, never have again. I wrapped my Angel coat around you as we held that moment close, and when our lips finally parted whispered, “Someone’s got to keep you warm” and discovered just how deep those auburn eyes could go. They smiled first, your eyes, and the stretch of the skin around them lifted your mouth upward into a crooked crescent moon.
“Listen,” you slurred—you start every sentence slurring, “Listen…” when you’re drunk. Something like tears welled up behind my teeth, a tidal wave of overwhelming elation, and I took my eyes off of yours for just a moment when the streetlight refracted off the ice below and made glimmer the Celtic Trinity that I bought you for Christmas (you know how I am with shiny things).
My pupils returned to settle in yours like a matching key, turning to unlock the thought you started eight heartbeats ago:
“I love you.”