Monday, 9 December 2013

A Christmas Wish

His smile fills the room with glee, girls blushing, giggling and dreaming that he'll turn and make them the centre of his attention. And he does. One by one, he makes each girl's day; listening interestedly to one girl's story, laughing in the right places at another's joke and smiling easily as one girl takes a peak at him, each of their Christmas wishes being formed with his name. As the bell to symbolise a break full of fake smiles sounds, Johnny shrugs on his hoodie. His friends crowd around him, putting their fists close to his in the hope for approval (and, of course, Johnny does not disappoint) while girls gather in groups, excitedly telling their stories of how "Johnny-smiled-at-me" to each other. It sounds like an American movie about high school and yet, this really is how Johnny does college.

Johnny, the Clown of the Class; the nice guy; the intelligent guy; the so-attractive-it-hurts guy; the guy that avoids my story, my joke and my look every day.

Walking down the hallway, I stare as Katie Ford nudges Johnny playfully, pointing at her mistletoe hairband. Johnny smiles politely and kisses her cheek. I feel my heart scream but instead of struggling pointlessly for his attention, I put my head down, play nervously with my fingers and walk until I get home.

*    *    *

It was that picturesque scene that exists only in December: excited wishes written in children's eyes; a melody dancing between the particles that make up the crisp air; yellowy sparkles twinkling through the darkness. Just like a song.

Johnny stares blankly at the piece of paper in front of him. Words came easily to him. Not today, it seems.

Johnny's phone buzzes and he feels his heart anticipate a name that refuses to appear. It's Katie.

Turning up his speakers, Johnny drowns his heart in the sound of his favourite band, the melody bouncing off of the walls like his secret trying to get out. Tapping his fingers agitatedly, he moves his curtain slightly so he can watch the night's sky. It mirrors his loneliness. The uncomfortable silence that rung when he ignored the truth is painted in every star tonight.

*    *    *

Peter's eyes open and he's not sure why. He turns onto his side and then hears a sound that a moment ago rung through his dreams. Confused, he stumbles out of bed and switches on his light. A second later he hears tapping at his window.

For a moment he considers turning the light back off and rolling back into bed. As soon as the thought arrives, Peter dismisses it.

Running with light steps out of his room, he turns off the light, forgetting he's in an old t-shirt and pair of shorts. Quietly retrieving some keys and opening and shutting the door, to the back of a silhouette, Peter whispers a name.

The only name he could ever dream of telling the air of their secret.

He turns with a slow smile. "You turned off your light... You didn't even come to the curtains. I thought you weren't coming."

Peter moves carefully towards his sweet expression. "It's Christmas. Miracles happen, right?" Too fearful to feign confidence, Peter twists his fingers slowly.

"I could have been anyone. You didn't look, after all." There was that playfulness in his voice that Peter wanted to hear every second of the day.

"Well, you weren't who I was hoping for, I have to say."

Johnny laughs a little too loudly for the lonely night and then smiles wickedly, enjoying their secret adventure. He makes the space between them smaller and catches Peter's hand in his quickly, childishly. Peter feels his heart leap for joy but plays it as cool as he can manage; smiling playfully back at him.

Under Johnny's stare, Peter forgets the looks he dares to throw Johnny in History, the jokes he imagines telling him and the stories he longs to re-tell in the aching hope that he'll respond to his SOS calls. At 3o'clock in the morning, under a blanket of winter wishes, Peter couldn't care less.

Peter ignores his heart's sadness as Johnny releases his hand but watches as the fairy lights that are twinkling next door catch Johnny's attention. He stares, mesmerised. As if knowing Peter's want for his protection, Johnny takes his hand and traces his fingers around his skin, eyes still transfixed on the Christmas decorations.

Peter puts his hand on Johnny's face and Johnny returns his stare, seriousness shadowing the excitement. Peter feels him searching his face. "I love the colour of your eyes," Johnny whispers. "Like blue stars filled with the night's wonder."

Peter considers making a joke but his mouth dries too quickly and he falls effortlessly into his words, holding onto the promise of his expression. Peter dares himself to move closer and he is reminded of the few freckles that dot Johnny's nose and cheeks. He notes how he likes the sweet carve of his nose and the way his smile was a different smile he flashed all of those girls.

"I forgot the mistletoe."

"We don't need mistletoe, Johnny."

*    *    *

It was Christmas Eve; a week after Johnny turned up at Peter's house. His eyes were closed and he recalled the night.

At the whisper of his name, Johnny had felt an electric current surge through his body. Allowing a short moment to mean everything, he smiled one last smile at Peter's sweet but strong face and moved his hand to his hair. Closing his eyes he felt the warmth of Johnny's breath and rested his forehead against his. "You're my Christmas wish, Peter."

Peter, as he did, every day since, beneath the solitude of the moon's promise not to tell, made him know that one day, Johnny, too would have the courage Peter had and he'd be there, acting as his safety net.

Fairy Lights & Stars,

The Girl in the Moonlight.

P.S. You can read about Blogmas HERE.

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