Edelweiss

As Raj began the chorus of edelweiss, Stuart smiled. He didn't just smile; he beamed with happiness. The joy was overwhelming and all inspiring. The whole world fell around them. As he joined in, he felt the shake on his hands, which always held him back, fade out almost instantly. The nervous atmosphere dissolved into the first verse as they practically burst with song. Soon the whole room was filled with off-key bawling. Before they had even realized it, they were on the second verse. They were screaming out into the night, without a care in the world. Raj's gentle melody was like honey to Stuart's ears, sweet and soothing. As the volume raised and their final note arrived, Stuart, out of absolute nowhere, began to giggle.

A giggle turned into a laugh. Soon they were both in full blown fits of raw laughter. Tears formed in Raj's eyes as he gasped for air. Stuart was doubled over in giggles. Then Stuart realized, he had never felt this good for months, never felt so secure, so accepted. He looked into Raj's eyes he felt warm, a little nervous and strange. Raj blushed and looked down, embarrassed and unable to keep his eyes straight ahead. They both laughed nervously before focusing on each other. Raj felt as if he'd never been this content and happy but nervous and shaky all at the same he could question his actions,Stuart whispered, almost as if it were a crime to say,

"I've never felt moreā€¦" Yet he couldn't finish the words he had started.

"Happy" Raj finished, before laughing nervously and turning a hot red.

In that moment, Stuart no longer felt bad, guilty, confused or lonely. He just smiled reassuringly at Raj, who, after a few minutes, smiled back.

"See you tomorrow, Cream" Raj said, before beginning to walk away.

"I'll be waiting, Coffee" Stuart shouted after Raj and into the street.

As they both walked away, for the first time, the long glances didn't seem wrong. The close exchanges didn't seem awkward. The lonely nights seemed so far away. Edelweiss flowers grew in the flower pot on the sidewalk, on the road home to Raj's apartment. He noticed their pure beauty, their honesty. He had passed these flowers every day and checked the growth of the flower buds. Yesterday, one of the flowers was closed, not quite ready, even among all the beautiful, fully exposed flowers. Today Raj saw a tiny glimpse of a beautiful petal; the bud had opened just a little bit. He thought, tomorrow it might be fully open, or just a little bit more but there was no chance the flower would ever get to hide away again. No chance at all.