You, however, are a mystery. Why did you enter my life? So brief a time, yet — there must be something.
Maybe it was that moment on our first-and-only date, when you drove me home and stopped your car in front of my lit-up apartment complex. We sat there talking and the darkness felt close and the air felt heavy with possibility. As we hugged goodnight, I almost kissed you.
Your eyes met mine, there in the gentle darkness of your car, and I knew you wanted to kiss me, too — but you didn't.
Why didn't you?
I got out of your car and walked up the brick path to my apartment complex. In the doorway, I turned and waved to you. You honked the horn, a quick beep beep, like a teasing wink, like a promise, and then you drove away.
Two days, three days passed, and I was angry at you for not calling. I didn't know your car had veered off Highway 93 and crashed into a telephone pole until I saw it in the newspaper. Your small black-and-white face smiling up at me from the obituary page.
Maybe that unkissed kiss was the gift you gave me, waiting there in the space between us — not given, not taken. But almost.
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This story appears in the July/August 2010 issue of "All Things Girl" (themed "Men & Boys.")