ben and natalie

She bounced lightly on the heels of her feet as long strands of staticky orange-black hair wandered from her head. It is so long sometimes I am surprised to see her on campus when I do. Relieved she hasn’t been strangled by this wayward hair which doesn’t seem to bother her but makes my palms sweat with anxiety and desire. Anxiety because it makes me feel the slow tick of every second we spend saying hi and hey to each other as a tick closer to when her hair will strangle her or at the very least, pick up and lead her in a direction that isn’t towards me. And desire because I can smell her comforting girl smell emanating from this shiny undulating curtain.

“Hey” I said.
“Hi” she said.
“Where you headed?” (me)
“My bible study group is leading a youth thing tonight.” (her)
“How about you?” (her again)
“Me too.” (me)

We both laugh and I self-consciously run a hand through my hair. This is funny because we both know I don’t believe in a god. This is sad too because this one difference is what keeps me from spending my nights with her, making sure her hair doesn’t strangle her. Now she is walking, the bouncing on her heels a precursor to this movement away from me. My palms water again with anxiety because my desire for her strangles me. I suddenly feel weariness at living my life on the terms of a god I don’t believe in. I don’t like him very much all the same. Still, we can have these moments where I can smell her and we can say hi and hey and be in love for a few seconds.

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