What had it been? Eight years? Ten? She couldn’t remember now, and that question only added to the whirlwind already spinning through her mind. Why was he contacting her now? In his message he didn’t sound urgent or dire, he simply sounded… like Kyle. His voice was the same symphony of cadence and tone it had always been, and it still incited the same reaction in her that it always had.
They had gone to school together; since they were five years old they had been classmates, neighbors and friends. Kyle attended all of Lily’s cello recitals, and pretended to be awake; she cheered him on through every basketball game, encouraging him to foul the other team when necessary.
Kyle comforted her when her cat died, beat up the boys who were bullying her and walked her home from school every day. Lily helped him fix his motorcycle, teach his dog Gir to play fetch and made him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Adolescence cast Kyle in a new light, and Lily’s eyes didn’t see him the same; in place of a gangly boy she saw the shadow of the man he would become. His hair seemed richer, his laugh deeper and his eyes more piercing and she found herself feeling suddenly shy when he was around.
High school had brought on a whole new series of feelings. Lily had tried to date other boys, but none compared in her estimation to Kyle, and it pained her to watch him date other girls. He walked across campus holding Sara’s hand, or laughing with Jody, and each time he passed her she could only smile in mock encouragement, all the while wilting inside because that touch and laugh weren’t for her.
On graduation day Kyle took Lily by the hand and led her under the bleachers, his dark blue cap and gown complimenting her light blue one, and once they were out of sight of the crowds of weeping parents and bored siblings, he spoke to her softly.
“I want to ask you something,” he said, holding her hands in his.
“What is it?” Lily replied, her brow furrowed and confusion shining in her honey colored eyes.
Kyle was quiet for a moment, his eyes never leaving her face, “May I kiss you?”
The question caught Lily off guard and she blinked in surprise, a swarm of butterflies exploding in her stomach. A wide smile spread across her face, like morning sunlight slowly creeping across the landscape. Her inhibitions were swept away in the sweetness of him asking, and the knowledge that they were both leaving for separate colleges in only a few months.
Lily threw herself against Kyle, his surprise lasting only a moment when she pressed her lips to his and his arms came around her, squeezing her tight. That first kiss was the kind poets write sonnets about, and they sought to touch and taste and feel everything all in that one frozen moment in time.
And now, a decade later, that summer seemed as fresh and new to Lily as it had when it was happening. College, boyfriends, and four moves had passed, and still the sound of Kyle’s voice was enough to make her feel 18 again, and her fingers trembled as she dialed the number he’d left on her machine.
“Kyle? It’s Lily,” she said, unable to stop herself from smiling like a fool, “It’s been a long time since our last visit. How are you?”
“I'll be better in a second,” he answered just as her doorbell rang, and her hand trembled as she reached for the handle.