Mark and I went up to my room and finally changed out of the cold, wet clothes we wore at the rink. Mark forgot to bring anything to change into, as was his nature, so I lent him a pair of shorts. Once we had all that situated, I offered to put a movie on my laptop, but Mark asked if we could just listen to some music and talk.
“Sure dude. That’s cool too.”
I watched as Mark’s face transformed into a more serious set. His brow furrowed in deep thought. He had something on his mind, and I could tell he was having a tough time figuring out where to start.
“Mark. What’s up man? What’s on your mind?”
“Huh? Oh. Daniel? Can I ask you…like. Can we talk about what happened?”
“Yeah. I mean, it happened. It was pretty stupid, but I’m not going to pretend I didn’t do it.”
“You know, that night you umm…did it. We…we were supposed to hang out. I waited all day for you to call…but you didn’t.”
“Let me finish. Ok?”
I watched as Mark struggled to keep his thoughts together, and prevent himself from crying. It was hard watching him sit so uncomfortably on my computer chair, while I sat a mere two feet away at the foot of my bed. I wanted to reach out to him, but I didn’t know how, or if I should.
“So you never called and the next thing I heard was what happened. All…all I…could think was what if I had called you, and not just waited for you to call me? Like maybe I could have stopped it from happening.”
Once he finished opening his heart, he lost it. Tears weeped from his watery, sad eyes, as he sobbed quietly.
In the biggest voice I could muster, which was barely over a whisper, I tried to explain “Mark…I…I…I am so sorry. I…I…thought you had plans with Katie. That’s why I didn’t call.”
Mark looked up at me, through his stinging, red eyes, pleading. “What if you had died?”
I didn’t have an answer for that, as I cried privately. Finding it very difficult to pick up my head and look into his eyes.
“Daniel. You’re the best friend I’ve got. You scared the shit out of me.”
I sat there dizzy with tears. Confused. Lost. “I…I’m sorry Mark.”
He got up from the chair and sat beside me. “I’m just happy you’re still here.”
“Yeah. I kind of suck at suicide.”
That kind of lightened the air a bit, as we both hesitantly giggled at my ridiculous statement. We sat there silently with our own thoughts, not sure what to do or say next.
It was Mark who spoke first. “Why did you think I had plans with Katie? I remember you and I made plans.”
“Kayla said something about a double date for that night.”
“What? I never agreed to that. That was just the girls talkin’. I had plans with you already.”
“I’m sorry. I just figured. You know. You and Katie looked like you were hanging out a lot or whatever. So, how are things going with you two?”
“There is no thing.”
“Really? What happened?”
“I tried a little bit more than first base and she freaked out. Said no way. I was like what? I mean what’s the point in hanging out with your girlfriend if all you’re gonna get is a kiss? I wasn’t gonna hang around for like a year before gettin’ some. Chicks are fucked up. I mean except for Kayla. She gets it.”
“Oh damn dude. I’m sorry. I figured you guys were still going out.”
“How about Kayla? You guys still, like together?”
“Nah. I fucked that up. That Friday before I…you know. I kind of went off on her and said some mean things. She told me to fuck off and stormed out. I haven’t talked to her since.”
“Wow dude! I had no idea. She like stopped talking to me and sitting with me in lunch, because I was mean to Katie. What a joke, right? She sits at Katie’s table with all them bitches. Why can’t girls be more like boys? You know. Just like chill and not worry about everything. And be like, horny all the time.”
“Aha right. Well, Kayla was definitely horny all the time.”
“No doubt, right? So, did you ever…you know…fuck her?”
“Nope. I probably could have though. Shit, I probably should have. I don’t know. Don’t laugh, but I was kind of scared about it. I’ve never done it…so, what if I like did something wrong, or made her laugh at me. Guess I have to wait like years now before I get another chance haha.”
“Nah. You got style. Chicks like that, you know…mysterious and weird guy stuff.”
“That didn’t come out right. You’re…unique, yeah. Girls like that. And don’t think I’m weird or anything, but you’re, you know, cute. The hair and eyes. Girls stare at you, like all the time.”
“Did you just call me cute, Mark?”
“Hehe. Yeah. I guess I did” replied a blushing Mark.
“Well…what are you waiting for handsome? Kiss me!”
Stunned by my comment, Mark responded with “You’re dead!”
I quickly found myself flat on my back, with a hand pinning me to my bed. We spent the next couple of minutes wrestling around and laughing. We took turns trying to turn each other into pretzels, and sparring playfully. When I got too tired to continue, I submitted to Mark, allowing him to pin me on my back. He sat on my stomach with my arms trapped under his knees. We smiled at each other, chests heaving from all the horseplay.
“So? You got me. When are you going to kiss me? You do think I’m cute, right?” I asked in a mock serious tone. Never breaking my lock on his eyes.
He sat thoughtfully for a minute. His smile replaced by a blank stare. Then he bent over my face and slowly lowered himself into me. He planted a sweet, soft kiss, on the center of my forehead. Not just a peck, but a nice kiss, that he let linger.
“How was that?”
“Perfect” I smiled up to him.
“I do love you Daniel. Never forget that.”
“I love you too, Mark. I always will.”
We fell into an awkward silence. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I was swimming in the recent memory of the kiss he placed on my forehead. I kept replaying it in my mind. Oh how I wanted more! Mark rolled himself off of me and laid by my side. I made a few adjustments to shelter some potential embarrassment.
We did eventually watch a couple movies, but didn’t really say much more. That was fine. Nothing more needed to be said that night. Mark dozed off before me and a little later, I fell asleep too. I was happier than I’d been in a long time. That kiss might not have been anything more than a simple little gesture of friendship, but it meant the world to me. I fell asleep with a smile on my face. Looking forward to waking up to another day with my friend Mark.