Welcome Noah, We Missed You

Chapter Three

We spent the rest of the evening going through all your collections, and then my mom said it was time to go, and you grabbed my hand before I could leave and then there was a folded paper pressing against my fingers, and I was being dragged away by my mom. You saw me to the door and then my mom and I crossed the street to our house and you watched the whole time, and I felt my spine stiffen as I accepted you into my life permanently.

“Did you enjoy dinner?” my mom had asked when we were inside and I was hanging my coat up in the closet. She had turned the television on in the living room to the news and was pulling out her latest floor plans for a building her company was remodeling.

“Yes,” was all I said even though I wanted to say I enjoyed Sawyer but I didn’t want my mom to know how I felt about you, and I didn’t want to talk to her about any of it, all I wanted was to read the note you’d given me. She glanced back at me through the archway, seated at the couch with her glasses in her hand. I was at the stairs, ready to ascend, and I didn’t hesitate to, not waiting for a response from my mother. If she gave one, I didn’t hear.

I kicked my shoes off, and climbed into bed, settling under the covers before I read your note. “Noah,” you had written. “I collect things. I can’t help it. What do you do? –s.” I picked up my phone that I had discarded on my nightstand earlier, and opened a new message. I started to write I ruin things but deleted it and tried again. I ride my bike a lot. I shook my head against that too. I didn’t know what to say. I had a pet fish named Jupis and I read lots of books but that was it – that was all there was to me.

I wrote I don’t do anything and sent it to you.

Almost immediately you responded, I don’t believe you.

I wrote back, I wouldn’t lie to you.

Noah, you returned. You have to do something, anything.

I felt jittery all over, I remember. It was because you were the first real girl my age to ever text me before. I replied, I make my mom scared, I think.

You didn’t respond and I feared that I had frightened you away, that I should not have written that to you. But I had felt like I could tell you anything. I waited and I waited but you didn't respond, and so I set my phone down believing it was over, and picked up the novel I was currently reading.

I was falling asleep in the middle of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter when you texted me and I was jolted to a fastidious conscious state. Are you ready? Your message read. I typed back, For what?

Come outside.

Now reader you should know that there was never a curfew implemented for me because I never went out. But I’d never been allowed to just go out without my parents’ permission, especially now that I was being watched after my accident, which was something they called it. With that said, I did not hesitate to set my book down, and climb out of bed, grabbing the sneakers I’d taken off earlier. I descended the steps two at a time, trying to be quick and quiet. I was anxious, there was something about you, Sawyer that lit a fire under my skin. I yearned for your touch; for your breath coalesced with mine. I wanted you in every sense of the word, more than I was capable of understanding at such an age, at such a time.

You were standing on my front lawn when I crept out onto the porch, and the wind had gathered you scent and brought it my way like a witch beckoning me forward with one foreboding, curling finger. I stepped out into the moonlight, and you smiled at me. “Are you ready?” you asked when I said nothing. I felt very nervous because you had your hand held out to me, and you were only in a pair of shorts, and a sweatshirt and there was so much skin and none of it made any sense then, why your presence effected me the way it did.

But I took your hand, because I couldn’t not take your hand, and I let you drag me off because I felt deep inside me that I no longer wanted to be anywhere near trains that could kill you instantaneously and that maybe you’d help me stop scaring my mother.

I remember thinking then that you had started another collection, not one that was specifically tangible, not really anyway, but that night when you took my hand you’d collected my heart as well.