A Moment When I Was Young
Lisa was my roommate's girlfriend. Pretty, perky, quick to quip, she would have been perfect for me. But, of course, we would never have met if not for Felix. And Felix was my friend.
I ran into her at a Kappa Sigma party, a start-of-Fall mixer where would-be pledges drool over the seeming ease with which members take down their drunken prey. She stood by the wall, swaying to the flow of some mysterious melody hidden within the pounding percussion coming from oversized speakers at the other end of the room. Drunk freshmen gathered around a keg on ice awaiting their turn to show off. I had my own buzz on, but nothing like theirs.
"Hey," I said, and Lisa's gaze pulled into focus.
"Jeffrey!" she said with a grin. She was the only person who called me that, and it connected us somehow.
"Studying. I didn't want to distract him." She lifted a plastic glass, nearly empty.
"Want me to get you another beer?" I said.
That crooked smile. "Always the gentleman."
"That's me," I said. "Gentleman Jeff." I reached for her glass, but she pulled it back and slipped her other arm around my waist.
"Dance with me." She leaned until my arm went around her, hand pressed flat to her back. I felt the delicious curve of her spine, the movement of her hips, that deep softness in her soul. It was too much, too fast.
"I don't dance." I stepped back; she came with me.
"You're dancing now."
I glanced at my feet trying to escape. That's not dancing, I started to say. Our eyes met. I wanted to look away. I wanted to kiss her.
And then she was laughing again. Her arm dropped, and we stood in place, alone in the cacophony.
"Unknown forces," she said, and the smile faded. "Vast, unknowable forces at work in the world."
"What do you --"
"Do you want to know how Jesus walked on water? Would you like to understand that miracle?"
I nodded, too perplexed not to.
Lisa tipped her glass until beer trickled. There wasn't much, but enough to make a splatter. She stepped onto the puddle and an image flashed through me of Jesus -- the long-haired Caucasian Jesus of my childhood indoctrination -- stepping from the boat, Peter watching with such wonderful wonder that I felt it seeping into me too.
"See?" Lisa said. She dropped the cup and gazed into my eyes. "Sometimes we make it too complicated."
Stephen V. Ramey lives in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in many places, including prior Kind of a Hurricane Press anthologies, and his first collection of (very) short fiction, Glass Animals, is available where fine books are e-sold. For more literary adventure, see www.stephenvramey.com