“How long’s it been?” He spun around, looking up into the stained-glass mosaic of fall leaves.
She smiled, steadying him with a coy hand on his back.
“Oh, no,” she said. “I’ll only say it was the summer I turned 14.”
“That’s not very helpful,” he circled around so her hand was on his chest. Putting his hand over hers, he drew her in with his other arm. “That could have been last summer.”
She put up a feeble struggle, letting him hold her close. Nestling under his chin, she breathed in his scent. Sweet with sweat, it was a perfume she was growing to love.
They had been hiking the old-growth trails for almost an hour. They continued down the path, arm in arm.
“Does any of this look familiar?” He cradled her hand in the crook of his elbow.
“No,” she said. “All of these trees were mere acorns the last time I was here.”
His laugh reminded her of the rush of white water spilling over smooth river rocks. It bubbled up from deep inside his chest and swept her up in its irresistible eddy.
“That can’t be,” he said. “It was only last spring that you were brought into being.”
It was her turn to laugh, the crystalline ping of icicles cracking.
“So, I only came alive when I met you?”
“I only came alive when I met you,” he said. “Everything before that, doesn’t matter.”
“Nice save.” She snuggled in closer to him, basking in the heat from his body radiating through his flannel shirt.
“Are you going to tell me what happened that summer?” He put his arm around her shoulders. He liked the way they seemed to fit together perfectly.
“I’d much rather show you.”