In the backseat of the car, their knees just touch. Like the whisper of the wheels on the ribbon of asphalt. Slight enough for intention to be the question dancing across the roof of her mouth.
The spring night is cool and damp on her skin--really too early in the year for the windows to be down, but down they are, goosebumps crimping her arms and legs, her long hair a flag she snaps with adolescent expertise. Some song is playing on the radio that she doesn't like--not yet--but may, given time. Their friends are their friends, and superfluous.
His weight grafts onto hers. She holds it, bravely. Their arms touch, without fanfare, whistling to the shimmy of the car.
So there is her answer. In this quiet collaboration of arm hair. Is it possible to be thrilled, elated and slightly sorry, all at the same time? She swallows. It is.
On the car's seat, their pinkies touch. Then more of them.
Then everything that matters, all at once.
The song changes keys, lifts. He takes her hand. She feels her hand being held, surrenders her ownership in a tight, breathless arc. His fathom of fingers swirl around her hapless digits, pause atop her boomerang pulse. In this rolling darkness, no one can see how Milky-Way bright her skin has turned. She has never been so big, or dense.
Looking out her window, she spies an airplane blinking in the sky's immense. Like an even, beating heart. On, and off. On, and off. She blinks and thinks, I'm going to die someday. Is thrilled by her ability to think such a thing, at such a moment in her life.
The song stops.
Their eyes hang on the silence.