I counted the twenty-one seconds that passed before I uttered anything. I just stared at her beautiful smiling face.
Just say it. Whatever happens…at least you’ll know.
I switched the video call to a regular phone call. Mel asked me a question that I ignored and shot out what I wanted to say before I chickened out.
1, 2, 3. Say it.
“I have to get something out of me. Please, don’t interrupt me for a minute. I just have to say something.”
“Okay,” she responded, uncertainty audible in her voice. The tone of our conversation changed from easy and light to somehow feeling very important and intense. My thoughts and feelings hanging in the air between us.
I didn’t even inhale before starting my blabbing session. Hearing her voice, imagining her biting at her thumb pad nervously, imagining her with bare feet and a fresh face made me want to run toward her. “I really, really hope this doesn’t scare you away, and it’s absolutely fine if you aren’t there yet, if you think it’s too soon for you to label whatever is between us…but I’ve been unable to stop thinking about you and no matter what, I need to get these words out. I want you to hear them and respond however you want. Though, don’t say ‘Thank you.'” I chuckled nervously. “It’s been a while, if ever, that I’ve felt like I know someone so deeply, feel them and feel so much for them. I would like to make things exclusive between us; I want to explore what us means for us. Not having you around, being away from you, even if we talk every day, all day, it’s not enough. It’s made me realize I like having you in my life and I think…” I gulped. “I think I’m falling for you.”
“Wow, Elise.” She sounded overwhelmed.
And then the line got cut.
“Mel? Halo? Mel?” I moved the phone away from me, staring at it like it had some sort of vendetta against me. I brought the screen to life, searching for answers. She couldn’t have hung up on me. She wouldn’t do that, right?
I pressed the heels of my palms into my eyes, doubts creeping in. If I had just shut up, I wouldn’t have scared her away. And now I got God-knows-how-many days to dwell on it, locked inside my house with no distractions.
Ringing interrupted my internal monologue, Mel facetiming me.
I answered, mentally preparing myself to hear rejection.
“My phone died. Impeccable timing, huh?” She laughed softly. “I feel the same way. Want to make us quarantine-official?”
“Yes, come here. I got a fully stocked kitchen and I know you’ve been postponing to go grocery shopping.”
Her snicker was like music to my ears. Her free and positive energy was contagious. I wanted to have it in the same room, with me. “I’ll be there asap.”