It was the summer after I turned 19. I went day drinking with my friends to an Irish pub. That’s where I met Eugene. He was dragging a puff from his cigarette. He was tall, slender, had a square jaw and big brown eyes, and brown curls, and was almost as old as me. He came to the table we were at and asked if I could show him and his friends around the town. They looked like a young bunch of tourists from the town exploring country air. Excited by the proposal and looking for some thrill, I decided to be their tour guide for the day.
Over the next couple of days, I took them around to my favorite picnic spots, the riverside, places of historical significance, and a couple of local bars. I shared everything I knew about the town to the best of my knowledge because I was young and dumb, but mostly because I was drawn into his big brown eyes every time he looked at me. He told me he had a long-time girlfriend with whom he was friends from childhood. His friends told me another time that Eugene’s girlfriend was practically his fiancé and that they intended to get married after he finishes uni.
That evening when we went out to the Irish pub where we first met, we took shots of tequila and danced. As we stood at the table, he tapped the ashes of his cigarette on the ashtray, looked into my eyes, and called me Beautiful. We went outside the pub into the alleyway behind the parking. In a flash, his fingers traced the hem of my paisley printed dressed and we kissed slowly and passionately. His mouth tasted as fresh as peppermint and we made out filthily. We went inside like nothing ever happened and they left the town the next morning.
After that, I had many short-lived flings and multiple men come and go in my life. It was only a couple of minutes of intimacy but I had played it over and over again, in my head all through that summer. Each summer, I hoped that in a bus full of outsiders, the boy with big brown eyes steps out and calls me beautiful again. Even today, when I feel like I am falling out of love, I ruminate about paisley prints, peppermints, and the surprising kiss. It grounds me and yet makes me fly.
Prompt from Puttingmyfeetinthedirt.