Kyle and I took our time walking from my apartment to his. We paused to look in shop windows, he was patient while I stopped to to take pictures of ordinary things. It was a beautiful day, the sun’s gentle warmth added to the feelings of comfort and bliss coursing through my veins.
“Want to walk through the park? I’ll take you on the path I usually run on.”
“I don’t have to run do I?” I ask with skepticism in my voice.
Kyle chuckles, “No. You don’t have to run. But you do have to do this.” And he spins around my back before reaching for my free hand.
Instinct kicks in and I take a picture of our intertwined fingers. The image angle probably isn’t good. And it will likely be blurry. But the imperfections of the image will remind me of the perfection of the moment.
We make a turn around a bend in the park and lined up along the street are several food trucks. Right on queue my stomach rumbles.
“Wanna stop for a snack?” Kyle asks. I’m not sure if he heard my stomach but either way he’s saying all the right things.
“Yes, I do. Maybe just a basket of fries?”
“Perfect, I’ll be right back.”
Kyle walks over to the food truck and I find a bench for us to sit on. When he joins me he presents a paper basket of fries with all the fixings. Sprinkled cheese, herbs, bacon, and a side of ranch. I reach for one immediately.
“Ohmigod, so good.” I say with a mouthful.
Kyle leans over and whispers in my ear. “You’ve said that before. What’s better Liz, fries or me?”
I cough on my fries because his innuendo will always surprise me. How can he just say something like that? He grins for catching me off guard and pops a fry in his mouth.
“So I never got to finish the story about when Bryan and I stole his dad’s car to go fishing.”
“No, you didn’t. You’ve been dying to tell me that one haven’t you?” I tease.
“I have, it’s a classic. Okay, well Bryan was 16 but he hadn’t passed his drivers test yet. I was 14 and eager to learn how to drive. Bryan and I loaded up the trunk with all the fishing gear and found a map to take us to our favorite spot along the Naugatuck River. We were so confident that we’d be able to pull this off.”
He reaches for a fry, pops it in his mouth, grabs another but continues without eating it.
“So we hit the road and like 45 minutes into the drive Bryan starts to sneeze like uncontrollably. He’s behind the wheel and sneezing like cra—-AAAAAAH!”
“WHAT THE? AAAH!” I scream.
While Kyle and I are both screaming, a squirrel jumps from Kyle’s shoulder, snatches the french fry he was holding right out of his hand, and then jumps down to the grass before scurrying away.
“What the hell was that?” Kyle yells.
Laughter is bubbling up inside of me and about to explode. If I try to answer him I’ll just laugh out loud at the ear piercing sound he let out when the squirrel landed on him. I try to take a steading breath. Kyle notices I’m about to lose it.
“Don’t you dare laugh.”
And that does it, I curl over and laughter bursts out. Tears are forming in the corner of my eyes.
“Oh, my, ha, ha, I can’t believe how high you screamed.” I huff out with my laughter.
Kyle chuckles too. “Well, any man would react that way to a rodent jumping on his shoulder.”
“Sure, sure. Of course.”
“Hey now, for all we know my scream scared him off.”
“No, Ky, he wasn’t scared at all. He stole that french fry right out of your hand while you were busy screaming.”
“Fine. Ugh.” He shudders. “Squirrels are so gross. Ok, I’m rattled. Let’s head back.”