There's this little orange light and I love this little orange light and what it does to your hair and your skin. This little orange light that illuminates the stairwell in your apartment building which has one of those outdoor stairwells with the wood panels like we're at the beach or something when there isn't water for a good fifty miles or so. This little stupid orange light that's hideous and glows this horrible orange all over your face. The sort of orange that makes me think of parking garages and other places that are just concrete and oil stains. But this is where I kiss you. Really, honestly kiss you for the first time. Not just a hesitant, frightened kiss where I'm only half there and my hands are shaking.
This awful orange light is where I kiss you hard and you're pressed against the wall just below the light. It's hung sort of low and it hangs just a little above your shoulder and there isn't really room for my right hand so I just hold your head as I'm pressing and pressing. This really horrendous orange light that's next to your six month old apartment door with it's almost falling off numbers and letters telling me that this is your apartment, you live here in 2C across from 2B who is this older woman in her 40's who's divorced and has an awful little girl who says the most inappropriate things sometimes. This is where I taste your tongue for the first time. Where I try to swallow it whole for the first time and you giggle against my mouth. This is where you taste like strawberry shortcake because it's July and that's what you had for dessert. And I always, always just sort of assumed that you would taste like summertime. But I had thought it would be lemonade or iced tea with a lot of sugar.
This atrocious orange light lights up the pitch black of midnight and casts shadows on your face and I want to live there in those dark places on your face and that's so ridiculous that I laugh as I'm kissing the skin next to your ear. And you pull back a little and your head almost knocks into that little orange light and you ask me, "What's so funny?" I shake my head and back you up closer to the wall and closer to that horrifying orange light and say, "Nothing," and kiss you again, biting at your bottom lip. Not because I want to hear that sound you make (because this is the first time I would hear it) and not because I want your head to tilt back so you're even farther into the glow of this little orange light.
I'm biting at your bottom lip because I really, really, really cannot believe that we just went out on a date. A real date. A date date. And I need to steady myself somehow. We just went out on a date, our first date. I picked you up, came bounding up the stairs and knocked on your door that said 2C (the orange light wasn't on then and so at the time I was unaware of the sort of repulsive beauty that would later come from this seemingly commonplace light fixture). I knocked on your door and then you opened it and you were standing there in this soft pink dress that fell just above your knees and your knees looked sort of knobby like a little kid's and it was really hard not to kiss you then. Then I took your hand and opened your car door for you and drove you to a restaurant where we ate and talked and wondered why, why, why this hadn't happened earlier. Why four and a half years later, we are just now going on our first date. You had a glass or two or three of wine and started laughing at everything and telling me how "fucking adorable" I was.
And then I took you to this park near my house that has all of these beautiful flowers and we took a walk with you leaning into me because of the two or three (or maybe it was really four) glasses of wine and your little purse that matched your dress kept bumping into my knees. Then the sun started to set and you stood up on your own for a second and stopped us by a rose bush and you looked up at me sort of swinging and said, "You're- You're-" Then you stopped and frowned and just grabbed my hand and looked down at it and finished with, "Everything," and then you laughed a little under your breath and looked back up at me like you were waiting for an answer. But I didn't know what to even think in response to that, let alone what to say to the person who just said that to me. Let alone what to say to the person who just said it to me who happens to be the person that makes me think, "Everything," whenever I look at her. So I just stared at you for a while and you stared back and I finally found some words and said, "Your dress matches the flowers."
Then we were in the car and it was only nine and I didn't have anything else planned for the night because I'm horrible at dating and picked you up too early because I wanted to be there in that garden with you when the sun was setting so that I could see if your skin really would look beautiful against the dying day like I thought it would. And it did. So we were sitting in the parking lot not moving because I didn't want to take you home so early and I didn't think you wanted to go either. Your dress slid up and I could see that you shaved higher than where the dress would fall and I thought I knew what that meant or maybe you're just really thorough about shaving, but my breathing still faltered a little as I turned on the car. You said, "Now what?" Like ending the date wasn't even an option. I turned to you and shrugged my shoulders and said, "We could just drive around."
So we did. You rolled your window all the way down and didn't care that your hair kept getting stuck to your lip gloss and kept blowing into your eyes. You fooled around with my radio until you found a song that you liked. You just sat there with your head half hanging out of the window, your hair blowing straight back and a soft smile on your lips. You stayed like that for two hours and then I pulled over on some dark road with nothing around and we sat on the hood of my car, watching fireflies and listening to the locusts. You said, "I feel like a different person."
Then I drove you home even though I wanted to- I don't know. I wanted to take you back to my house and we could just watch TV or play cards or talk about how you felt like a different person and whether or not it was a good feeling or if you regretted not getting married. You seem like you miss him still and that's okay really, because you don't not miss someone you had there with you for ten whole years. That's almost impossible. We could've just gone back to my house and sat on the couch with your feet on my lap and we could've talked about how hard it kind of was to go from that comfortable friendship we had to being more. Even though I wanted to be more, I almost missed the way we could just be friends and make jokes and- But this is good too.
Because now I get to kiss you next to ugly orange lights in your apartment building. My left hand rests on your hip and the dress your wearing has these really thin straps and your collarbone is taunting me. I hear your keys jingle in your hands and I back away even though I immediately miss your tongue and your teeth and the way they- You turn and fumble to get the key in the lock properly and I suppose it doesn't help that I have absolutely no self control anymore and I'm kissing your shoulders, pushing the straps aside. You unlock the door finally and turn to face me.
You pull your straps back up to where they should be and clutch your bag in front of you and say, "Tonight was amazing, Jim." You look down at your shoes and lean back against the door. "I'm not really ready to- I mean, with-" You groan in frustration and then smile. "It's just I've only ever- With Roy and-"
I kiss you once more even though your face isn't all orange and glowing anymore with your new position. And I say, "Yeah, I get that. I can wait." And I can. I can wait for years and years and years. We could never, ever go beyond kissing under the little orange light and I would be so happy.
I want to tell you that I love you before you go inside, but this is our first date so I don't. I just reach out and squeeze your hand as you open the door and go into your apartment. Apartment 2C.
At the sound of the lock clicking, I lean backwards onto the wall and the disgusting yellow light is right in my eye. I smile to myself and think about how much I really, really love this little orange light.