The red haired young woman raised her head suddenly and looked at the tender-eyed young man near her. She whispered, "Why are you standing so close?”
"Well--” She leveled her gaze at him, moving off a smidge. "Don't."
"It's--” Her large green eyes searched his. "It’s inconvenient."
"Well, it is," she said and resumed walking. Her flaming hair gave off sun sparkles from passing hall windows.
"I see." He breathed in her sweet after draft --her body, her… .
"I'd just rather you didn't," she added over her shoulder.
"Didn't do what?" He caught up with her.
"Love…" She walked faster.
"Something not love?" He kept up with her.
"Could you be more specific?"
"Well," she flashed him a orange eye-browed look, "start off by liking."
"Already do, if you mean listening to the exquisite sound of your voice, watching your pellucid eyes flash, at first tender, then angry, then the prescient way your face changes when your boiling thoughts surface and are converted by your voluptuous brain to brilliant words; your laugh, the acuteness of your observation of the smallest things, like rotifers under the microscope in biology, and when you turn your head with that stunning big smile--there it is! The way you look into people's hearts when they speak to you? That sort of thing?"
"Hmm, not bad…but according to you sex maniacs here at school, love is mostly 'hooking up,' right? 'Love' means spending only one empty night or an afternoon with…."
"Yes, you're right; the word love’s degenerated and mostly does mean hooking up: that's the empty calories, high cholesterol, high sodium, nonnutritive emotional equivalent of junk food. Leaves you scared, empty and desperately dissatisfied. Ergo you, yourself think just liking could be less… empty?"
"Exactly," she said, “the very premise of being in 'like' with somebody first is more souls-touching than just being sexually attracted with all that premature hormonal stuff jammed in, and of course liking’s absolutely more scary because it's lots less impersonal than hooking up."
"Because it relies on real feeling and… .?"
"Yes." She slowed to thoughtfully make her point. "With liking you don't have the obfuscational refuge of the mere physical act to beg the question. You have to first develop real affection and friendship. That gives the initial affinity a chance to blossom into that dangerously intimate friendship that’s even 100 times more frightening."
"So this 'liking', he said, “can itself transmogrify to become just as scary and inconvenient as loving?"
She thought a moment. "Yes, but then it’s a good 'scary and inconvenient' because then it includes God."
"If, for instance, I wanted you to like me back?" he said.
"But then that sort of 'liking' would supersede my original definition."
"But, what besides just the empty physicality makes sexual love inconvenient?"
"It excludes God. When two people make love they--want to or not--call on the Holy Ghost to enter with them into their relationship. He’s given us the glory of powerful physical intimacy but for a divine purpose—can’t discard that purpose."
She stopped and was now really looking at him. Her soul was written in her face; it compelled an absolute, breath-stopping honesty from him, but urged him to touch her deeply; he said, "So, better live without love unless it’s based on friendship?"
"Exactly. And please don't do that."
"Touch your wrist?"
"Well, touch if you must, but not like that."
"Because it's not the proper precursor, not friendliness?"
"Exactly." But she was breathing a little harder.
"More toward the more inconvenient and scary thing?"
"Yes, it's pushing aside friendship... ."
"Yes, more toward that."
"I’d like to make a suggestion."
"I think you invite that 'pushing aside.'”
"I invite it?"
"With your stupendously beautiful hair, so long."
She smiled that blinding smile. "My long hair is…I'm inviting messiness?"
"You say... ."
"And orange, did you know your hair sparkles orange in the sun. It's coruscations are the brilliant outer manifestations of your good soul. Irresistible goodness that compels attraction."
"People say red, but red doesn't really exist in human hair. It's really orange."
"Is that a difference without a distinction?"
"Well, look at that--no no, just let me hold up a little wisp so to see the sun shining through it. There. Look at that, way too much yellow in it to be called just red."
"So it's orange. Which, of course you were just being a little Bo-Peepish about, but you really know its effect because you're calculatedly wearing that complementary deep ultramarine blue sweater."
"I know it...?"
"Of course you know blue is the complement of your hair's orange and intoxicates the eye to drunkenness, that irresistible orange. Besides freckles. Orange hair and freckles are very, very beautiful."
"Exactly. And you're tall."
"So my freckles and being tall are inviting... ."
"The supercedence of friendship. And your body, you're not hiding it."
"And that... ."
"See," she said, "what you're doing now... ."
"You mean holding you as I’ve been wanting to do during all of our developing friendship?"
"Exactly. That's... ."
"I hope it’s not scary and inconvenient?"
He turned his head slightly to one side and touched her freckled cheek with his fingertips, looked into her enormous green eyes, a long look that took both their breaths away and then moved gently toward her turning his head a little and pressing his lips against hers, "And what about that?" he said.
"Shall I do it again? And now again? It can be very convenient especially if it has all the other wonderfulness we've been stipulating--don't you think?"
"Exactly," she said, but this time closing her eyes.
About the Author: Has pub. in The Linnet’s Wings, The Beat, Bartleby Snopes, Darkest Before Dawn, Dry Bones Anthology, currently in Black Lantern, 2 in Hackwriters, 2 in Fear of Monkeys. Has published the print quarterly Invertebrata, the instructional novella, My Aunt Rose, played the title role in the award winning movie, Uncle Nino, has appeared on National Television over 6000 times, won the Dramalogue Award in Los Angeles twice, and lettered in football at St. Anthony’s Grammar School in Atlanta GA in 1952