Stories

Blue in Green, by Edward King

Well, now you have her here. 

The movie is over and you asked what she wanted to do next and she said, “whatever,” and you started to drive, and she doesn’t seem to mind. She doesn’t seem bored. You have her here and you’re driving up the road to Horsetooth Rock and it’s eleven o’clock on a Friday night, and college applications are gone from your mind completely. 

Now you have her here and what will you do? 

You reach down to change the song. You scroll down to find something romantic—jazz—Kind of Blue. Perfect. 

You’ve done stuff with girls before, obviously, but it always seemed to end before anything had really started. It was awkward and tangled and unsatisfactory. And what happened with her last week—before she was here, tonight—that hung over you through the whole movie, as it did whenever you ran into her over the last week. But now you have her here and your parents think you’re at John’s house and she said her parents are away somewhere. She told her little brother she would be back by one o’clock. A comfortable warmth is spreading through your chest.

You pull into the parking lot overlooking the lake. There aren’t any other cars, but you park very carefully in between the lines, for some reason. You stop the car. The noise of the engine and the car’s heater is very loud. You turn the car off and you say, “God, that’s pretty.” It sounds lame. You can hardly see anything of the lake down there at all.

 You don’t love her or anything. But you’ve talked on Facebook every day this week and it makes you feel happy. She’s smart—intelligent, you mean—she showed you that Bloc Party song—she has good taste.

It’s strange, though, if something is about to happen—that it should happen with her, specifically. She has those strange, heavy brows; she tenses her shoulders up always like she’s cold. Being brutally honest with yourself, you pictured it happening (if anything is about to happen)—with someone… perhaps… more… conventionally attractive… to be honest. She doesn’t have a perfect hourglass form. Her eyes and nose and mouth aren’t arranged in any ratio the Greeks discovered. When you showed the guys her picture everyone agreed she was a seven out of ten at most.

Then you turn around and she’s looking at you—she’s looking at you!—those eyebrows and those shoulders are there, in front of you, and you remember that those are the things that drew you to her in the first place. And those eyes—you forgot!— those green eyes. All numbers, all opinions fall away. She is staring at you now, and now the notes of the piano are green somehow as well. And you see that all you have to do is turn into her completely and bring your head in close. It has always been such an anxiety before, but now it’s easy; you see exactly how it should be done. You kiss her on the lips; you kiss her neck. You tell her she’s beautiful and it doesn’t sound stupid.

The music is still playing. “So What” coolly dissipates into silence. “Freddie Freeloader,” the playful blues, is oddly appropriate for your fumbling around. The next song, “Blue in Green,” is this sorrowful ballad, and it comes on like a funeral procession. Everything is serious. Everything is confusing and the music no longer fits. 

When it’s over, “Blue in Green” is still playing. You regret putting this album on—it’s melancholy. Now it’s getting cold in the car but you don’t want to turn the engine on again. What you really want to do is go outside and look at the stars; but you can’t do that.

You realize that you haven’t looked into her eyes—you need to, too much time has passed. When you do, she looks afraid. No, nervous. A moment passes.

She says your name.  She rubs the nape of your neck and it makes you feel much younger. 

“What’s going to happen next year when you go to college and I go away?” she says.

You kiss her again and pull her head into your shoulder. “I’m not sure,” you say; but you hold her tight. “We’re going to be fine.”

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