Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Book Game

I can't go to Chinese restaurants anymore. I can't stand the smell of sweet and sour sauce, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. You know, we were going to go to China together, make a trek to Tibet, and see some monks. He used to say that he wanted to be a monk, not because he believed in a lifetime of celibacy but because he believed in dedication.

I never met anyone so dedicated. He won the 6th and 7th Grade spelling bees and he couldn't even spell that well, he just practiced alot. I helped him, I was the only one in the 3rd grade who knew what gaiety meant, I was also the only one to have a best friend who was a boy and 3 grades ahead of me.

He never minded the age difference, he was a loner by nature and so had never really needed friends, though he had many. I like to think that I was his first best friend, I would go around to people and say "we're best friends". And look at their reactions, that was when I was 11 and he was 14. They would just look at me and smile, in their heads they were thinking that I was just a silly girl with a crush on an older guy, but he never noticed their reactions.

Sometimes people say that he never really noticed me; that it wasn't that he didn't care about the age difference but that he just never cared about me. Why, they said, would a 14 year old be friends with an 11 year old? I mean, I can admit that I wasn't an older 11 year old. I wasn't smart for my age, or one of those kids that acts like an adult.

I still played with Barbie, I would wash Barbie's hair whilst he read Dickens and Hemmingway. He would sit in a chair at his desk and just read and I would run back and forth from the sink and ask him what he thought. He never got mad at me for distracting him, he even helped me cut her hair onetime. But then we got in trouble, because, well because it was his sisters dolls hair we cut. His sister was a year older than me, people often wonder why he was so close with me and not his own sister. He had no patience for her. I don't know why. I can't explain it. I mean he loved her, they had a good relationship, but they were never as close as we are, I mean were.

When we were a little older, we would play the book game. It was a game that we created when I was about 13, and he was 16. That was the year that I became addicted to books as well. I read voraciously, so that I could catch up with him, and every friday night we would play the game. We had sleepovers every Friday night until he went off to college. Yes, even when he was 18, and I was 15. Our parents didn't mind, they knew that we were like twins, we had a special connection. And they knew that he was in love with another.

So we would lay there in bed and face each other and one of us would quote a line from a book, and the other would have a minute to guess the name of the book, and we would just do that for hours. We got so we had 95% accuracy, I would throw in curve balls from books I knew he hadn't read, that's why it wasn't 100%. He never did that though, I was always the one that liked to spice things up.

One night we played the book game and he quoted a line from "Homecoming" by Cynthia Voigt. It was my fav book as a child, about siblings going to look for their mother who abandoned them in a grocery store car park. I asked him what he would do if he ever got abandoned, and he said that that would never happen. And I said how do you know? And, well I'll always remember this, because he looked at me and he laughed and then he said, "I know you'll never leave me". And then I hit him. And he rubbed my head, as if I were a dog or a little kid, but that didn't bother me, because it made me feel special.

He always made me feel special. That was his power, his charm. But we both knew that what we had was special. Even when we first met, especially when we first met. But, we never told anyone about that. We couldn't.

Every time one of us bought a book, we would buy 2 so that we could both read them at the same time. We would stay up all night sometimes trying to finish, so that we could discuss them. I did most of the talking though, he would interject at some points, but mainly I garbled on. And he never fell asleep, I loved that. Even if his eyes were drooping and it was 3am, he wouldn't fall asleep. And I didn't even have to pinch him, well once I did. But it wasn't hard, it was a soft pinch as pinches go.

Even when we grew older, and he was out of college, we would still play the book game. Right after I graduated from college, he surprised me with a trip to Tennessee, to the mountains. He knew I had aspirations of being a mountain climber. And he also knew that aspirations were all that I had. We stayed in a nice lodge and spent the weekend just walking and observing the scenery.

We slept under the stars the first night, I told him that if we couldn't sleep under the stars we couldn't play. He loved that game, now that I think about it, I think he just loved to watch me talk. I'm an animated talker, voice inflections, face accentuation's, and I am easily excited. He was the opposite, very calm, not very emotive. You know the true genius persona. Because he was a genius. He finished his bachelors degree in 2 years, he was disappointed in me, when it took me 5. But I never had the brains that he did.

When I was 18 and graduated from High School, he had already completed college and was completing his Masters. That was the hardest time for me. He was a more mature boy then, actually he was a man. And I was still a girl. My friends didn't see why I spent so much time with him, even though he was 21 and handsome, they thought he was boring and dull. But he never stopped being my best friend. Not even when he was away in college. We still spent every holiday together. We were a family. Even when our "real families" went somewhere else, we were always together.

He did have other friends. And I was slightly jealous. I just wanted it to be me and him. But he told me that I needed to grow on my own without him. I think he thought I was becoming a little bit too much of a disciple. I think he was uncomfortable after I asked him to teach me how to kiss.

It was a Saturday, we had gone on a picnic and for a boating ride in the river. When I say boat, I mean a rowboat. I had seen a film, and thought it looked cool and so off we went. I was just about to turn 15 and had all sorts of girlish crushes and fancies. As we were eating, he wiped some crumbs off of my shorts, I have to admit that I'd always been a messy eater. He used to tease me about that all the time. I'd tease him for always being so neatly dressed. I never knew a guy who like to use an iron so. But when he brushed my shorts, I felt a little jolt.

"Will you kiss me?" I asked. I always told him whatever I felt, that was the beauty of our relationship. He looked at me and sighed. "Do I have to teach you everything?" was what he said. But I later found out that I was his first kiss as well.

I just puckered my lips out and closed my eyes and leant forward, knocking the bottle of coke over with my arm. I felt a slight brush against my lips. I opened my eyes and he was staring into them. I stared back. Our lips pressed against each other not moving. His eyes were twinkling, the sunlight reflected the picturesque background and seemed to indicate the feelings that were slowly whirling through my body. I closed my eyes again, and pushed my mouth against his a little harder to get him to do something. I then felt his hands on my face.

"Open your eyes," he said. "If I'm going to teach you how to kiss you have to watch it". Even now I don't know how you can watch yourself kiss, but I opened my eyes again. His fingers stroked by cheeks and he leaned in towards me, slowly moving his lips, I remember the tickle on my cheek, and the warm musky smell of the grass and his body as he moved in. And I remember the most wonderful first kiss that a girl could ever have. And then when it was done, he stroked my eyebrows and I stroked his eyebrows. It was our display of affection for eachother.

And then I said, "If she's run off with that gypsy scum, let her run. Let her run through storm and Hell. They're birds of a feather and the Devil can take them both. Now, get me a bottle."

"Your minute starts now."

And 37 seconds later he answered, "If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime, he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day."

And we laughed.

That kiss, it didn't change anything. But whenever I read "Wuthering Heights," I feel a pang because it reminds me of that day and of the book game that I don't get to play anymore.


jameil1922 said...

i love that. you never write like this and its fabulous.

Dreamlover said...

Jameil, Thanks so much!!

You made me smile!!!