OK, here it is…Jake and I are standing under the street lamp with Milo. Chris is inside the house playing video games.
How are you doing? I’ve been thinking about you a lot.” he said.
He’d been thinking about me a lot. “Oh, I’m fine. My head bump was no big deal. It is pretty much healed.”
“How was the hospital?”
“Annoying, long, boring. They asked me if I had been drinking. Isn’t that funny?”
“Oh no, what did you say?”
“I lied and said no. They didn’t push it.”
“Can I see your head?” He said.
I looked nervously at the front window but I could see the TV through the curtains and the little soccer man was running around the screen. So I walked up to Jake under the street lamp glowing gold all over us and pushed my hair away from my forehead so he could see the stitches. He touched them and his fingers were warm and electric again, and comforting.
“10 stitches.” I said.
“Man, I feel so awful” He said. “I don’t think I’ve gone one night without thinking about it or even dreaming about it.”
“That’s funny” I said, “Because I don’t really think about it at all I’m so busy with the family.” I heard myself say.
“Oh! That’s cool” He said. “Well I guess me and Milo are going to head home”
“It was good seeing you.” I said.
“Yea, you don’t even know” he shook his head looking at the ground, pushing his hand through his short dark hair.
“What don’t I even know?” I said, my heart pounding happily again.
“I just have wanted to see you and wanted to see you and here you are now, finally, and you are just like, whatever. But you know, you’ve got a life and a family and I did hit you in the head with a stick. Why should you think about me?” He had his knuckles to his chin.
I took a minute to gather my thoughts. It was weird to see this kid acting as if we had a real connection, as if he really had been thinking about me every day.
“I have been thinking about you too.” I said, half lying. Until this moment I had been trying not to think about him too much. I figured I was probably a MILF joke to him and his friends, but perhaps not. He cracked a little smile at his toes.
“We should hang out again” I said with a weird pang of regret ringing inside me as I said it, knowing this was not the right path for my marriage.
“OK” he said shrugging at the ground. “I’ll drop by sometime.” He nodded and smiled at the ground.
I kept staring at him but he wasn’t making any eye contact. This totally beautiful guy who could have any beautiful girl and who should have no interest in me whatsoever was acting like I had something over him. I thought to myself that he must have really created a story about me in his head that I could never live up to.
“Um, yeah OK.” I said, then I imagined him knocking on the door while Chris and I were putting Zoe to bed or something. “Send Milo over first” I said.
“I can do that.” Then he said, “Do you have a phone number?”A phone number? This felt too much like a potential problem. “No” I said. “But give me your last name and I’ll friend you on Facebook.”“OK” he said. “It’s Nead. Jake Nead”
“OK Jake Nead.” I nodded. “I’m going to go in now.”
He nodded too and he and Milo started walking off down the street to his house.
“See ya Jake Nead!” I called after him.
He turned and we beamed at each other, then he turned and walked home.
I looked up at my front window and John’s little soccer man was still running around the green screen in circles. I walked back through the gate and round to the back door and in the house. I walked through to the living room and sat on the couch, sat down at the lap top. Chris didn’t ask where I had just gone off to, and once again there was nothing between us except for the, tap tap tap of the controller. I typed in, Jake Nead and I suddenly felt significant in the small living room.
“Didn’t you get up to get a drink so you could get drunk instead of taking an Ativan or something?” Chris said.
“I changed my mind. I don’t need it anymore.” I could breathe with no shelf. I enjoyed it and breathed deeply, calmly. My heart was pounding but not racing. It was glorious.
Jake’s profile came up as private. It did show that he was from Oregon. His profile cover-photo of the mountains looked spectacular and my mind went right to visiting those mountains with him. I sent him a friend request then shut down the laptop and went to bed.