the kind that echoes around in your brain forever. A moment of what-if’s and should-have-beens. I’ll give the ending away right now: We won’t kiss or caress, we certainly won’t have sex, fuck, or even make love, but this moment is enough. It’ll have to be.
I won’t even tell you the back story, it’s sort of complicated and mostly boring. I’ll fast forward through all the getting-to-know-you and mundane conversations. Just know that she’s Kim, my friend’s Tony’s girlfriend and I’m crushing on her, hard. I think the feeling is mutual.
We sit on her bed, talking, like we’ve done a hundred time and she turns to me.
“Would you like to brush my hair?” She unloosens it from her ponytail as she asks, crystal blonde waves fall around her shoulders. I look around, and she points to the hairbrush on the dresser. In my mind, when I remember this moment, it’s a heavy old fashioned Victorian silver brush with an ornate handle and all the romantic trappings one can attach to a brush. The sun streams through the windows, the light catching every nuance in her shimmering hair.
In reality, we were in a double-wide trailer, albeit a nice one. The brush was probably cheap molded plastic, and no light was shining on her hair brighter than a 60 watt light bulb.
Kim is real, however, and beautiful, achingly beautiful. I sit behind her on the bed, as close as I dare. Gingerly, I lift a small section of her soft hair and slowly run the brush down again and again. She settles, slumps back towards me a little, close enough that I can hear her breathe.
If I had the courage, and I won’t, I would lift her hair away from her neck and my hand would rest against her throat. I would find little the spot to bite on the back of her neck, she would shiver with pleasure and rub the goosebumps away from her arms. I would turn her towards me, look into her eyes and finally, oh, finally kiss her. I’d lift her soft pink sweater over her shoulders and unfasten her bra. I’d take her breasts into my hands and into my mouth, I’d slide her panties down just enough. I’d…
But I don’t. I sit on the on a squeaky bed in a double wide trailer and hold Kim’s hair like it was made of spun glass. I brush each precious strand and hope that she’ll have the courage to do what I cannot. I wish I weren’t so afraid of myself.
Suddenly she makes a move and I jump, eager and terrified. Here is where I pause this moment when I replay it in my head. This is the place where there are still possibilities, where any thing could turn. Where she could reach for me, and all my hopes could become reality.
Instead, Kim reaches for the television remote and a talk show flickers to life. Only a moment later, hearing the noise, her little sister bangs on the door. She comes in and sits on the bed too, grabbing the hairbrush from me, and brushes Kim’s hair herself. I freeze, horrified. I’ve read this whole situation entirely wrong. Kim doesn’t even seem to notice, her eyes never leaving the tv screen.