“It slowly began to dawn on me that I had been staring at her for an impossible amount of time. Lost in my thoughts, lost in the sight of her. But her face didn’t look offended or amused. It almost looked as if she were studying the lines of my face, almost as if she were waiting.
I wanted to take her hand. I wanted to brush her cheek with my fingertips. I wanted to tell her that she was the first beautiful thing that I had seen in three years. The sight of her yawning to the back of her hand was enough to drive the breath from me. How I sometimes lost the sense of her words in the sweet fluting of her voice. I wanted to say that if she were with me then somehow nothing could ever be wrong for me again.
In that breathless second I almost asked her. I felt the question boiling up from my chest. I remember drawing a breath then hesitating–what could I say? Come away with me? Stay with me? Come to the University? No. Sudden certainty tightened in my chest like a cold fist. What could I ask her? What could I offer? Nothing. Anything I said would sound foolish, a child’s fantasy.
I closed my mouth and looked across the water. Inches away, Denna did the same. I could feel the heat of her. She smelled like road dust, and honey, and the smell the air holds seconds before a heavy summer rain.
Neither of us spoke. I closed my eyes. The closeness of her was the sweetest, sharpest thing I had ever known.”