“I like morning glories,” she said. “I grew up with them and they remind me of home.”
Her feet fell into the water, falling slowly, as if time took a break to watch the water envelop her hot summer skin.
The lake was her place and she was sharing it with them, commanding their presence every minute they were there, just like she did in the city. She was the kind of woman it was hard to turn down, and you didn’t know why. She was young, and not exceptionally beautiful. She worked too hard and dressed simply, but her simple black made it all the more elusive to get near her. Though, everyone was near her, but few knew her.
Charlotte wished she were this kind of girl. There was a difference, a confidence she lacked, a quality she would never possess. Instead, she would always be watching Jamie. Watching her and relishing in the moments they got. Because Charlotte was invited places because she was smart and relatively attractive, but lacked everything Jamie had. If they had been one person, they would have been amazing. Instead they were two, two acquaintances, linked by friends of friends who kept them near enough each other to envy the other in a small way.
The summer weekend at the lake had been the kind of thing they wrote short stories about: silly, fun, full of moments that would touch them and the others for the rest of their lives, as one of them saw a morning glory or felt the tickle of humidity.
It was at the end of this weekend that Charlotte decided it was time to do something. She had to. She had to know. She had to ask. And as they got up to start packing, after dragging their limbs through the water and laying on the dock, it was that time.
“Uhm….Jamie?” She was walking slowly but quickly, with persistence.
“Sure, what’s up Charlotte?”
“Do you think I could get a ride?”
“Oh, yeah, well, it’ll be a bit until I get back to the city. I wanted to stop somewhere first. Is that OK with you?”
“Sure.” There was nothing buy yeses for Jamie. Always.
They called them enigmas. That was the word that Charlotte could not remember. People who drew you in for no reason. People you wanted to be around just because.
They stopped at a bar. They got drunk. Why they were here Charlotte could not tell. They lay in the grass outside, the waitress bringing them drinks even though they were not technically at the bar anymore. They were laying on each other, because they couldn’t find the blanket in Jamie’s car. Secrets lay about them, strewn like failed love letters in a teenage boy’s room.
“I never really knew if I liked girls. Or boys. It’s all been the same to me,” Charlotte found herself saying. “Maybe I just don’t know anything.”
“Are you bi?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you love girls?”
“I don’t even know that I can love one person. I’ve never loved one person.”
“Are you poly?”
“I don’t know. I don’t really know anything. I’m 27, with a good job, a decent life, and confused as all hell. I know less than I did at 14, somehow.”
They were close enough to threaten to kiss, but neither of them moved to do so. They just lay there, drinking, smoking cigarettes, and letting the last of the summer light die on their thighs.
“You know, Charlotte, I have no fucking clue either.”
Charlotte laughed at the idea.
“You should, though,” she said as she took another drink of an impossibly strong whisky and coke. “You have everything, you just don’t know it yet, Jamie.”
Jamie took a drag of the cigarette, and opened her thighs to the sun.
Charlotte looked at her, took the cigarette, and gave it back.
They both sighed.