It was a glorious, colorful autumn.
We’d just left the coffee shop. When we walked by, she had giggled and pulled me inside, saying, “C’mon, let’s be basic white girls and get some pumpkin spice!”
I don’t like coffee. I never had. But when she handed me my cup and looked into my eyes while I tried it, it was the best thing I’d ever tasted.
My hand still tingled where she grabbed it.
As we walked through the park with our drinks, a light drizzle began to fall. She pulled out an umbrella from her bag, I pulled up my hood and hunched my shoulders.
“Don’t be silly,” she giggled, pulling me under the umbrella with her. I couldn’t help but laugh too, her laugh is infectious.
As the sun started to shine again, she pulled me down to sit on a bench. She beamed down at me, and I could only gaze back adoringly.
“So Ava…” She began. I knew this tone of voice, it’s dangerous.
“Who do you like?” She whispered, and I looked away. I wanted to say, ‘you, you, a thousand times you. You’re the only one I can ever think about. You’re gorgeous and sweet and funny and…’
Instead, I shrugged my shoulders and looked down at my cup.
She looked at me with a cautious smile. “If I tell you mine, will you tell me yours?”
“Okay.” I said.
“The person I like… …is you.”
I drop my drink.
“I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while though. I know you’re not interested in me, but I-”
I put my hand over her mouth.
She looks at me in surprise.
I take a deep breath.
My voice catches in my throat.
She removes my hand from her mouth, leans in a tiny bit closer.
“What is it?” She asks, looking concerned.
Because I can’t seem to form the words, I tell her how I feel the only way I can.
Before I can lose my courage, I lean forward, pressing my lips to hers. After her momentary shock fades, she kisses me back; as her lips move against mine it’s like there’s fire in my veins.
Her hands gently cup my face as mine timidly grab her by the waist. She pulls me deeper into the kiss, running her tongue along my lips and nearly making me moan.
I think, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
We finally break apart when we’re both completely breathless. She tilts her head so our foreheads and touching.
“Wow.” She whispers.
I nod in reply.
“Ava- so, does this mean…” She stammers. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Nancy at a loss for words. I feel a bit proud of myself.
Finally getting courage, I grab her hands, pulling her to her feet.
“Nancy,” I say.
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
She squeals, jumping up and down in that way that I always thought was simply adorable but was never able to tell her. So I tell her now.
I’ve never seen Nancy blush before, either, but she does.
She pulls me into a hug, and I rest my head on her shoulder.
“So, is that a yes?” I whisper against her skin, and she giggles, grabbing my hands and spinning me around.
“Of course that’s a yes, silly!” She laughs.
“Good.” I say. “Because now I can do this again.”
I press my lips to hers, and it’s like everything else in the world fades. Over and over I keep thinking,
“I can’t believe you’re mine.”
I’m still thinking, “I can’t believe you’re mine” the next year when we move in together.
I think “I can’t believe you’re mine” as she walks down the aisle on our wedding day.
But the biggest “I can’t believe you’re mine” is when she holds our daughter for the first time.
I didn’t think it was possible to love someone more every day, but Nancy proved that wrong.
“Ava? What do you want to name her?” She asks, both girls looking up at me with big, beautiful eyes.
“Autumn.” I say, and she beams in agreement.
“Autumn” she whispers, and kisses her little head.
And that’s not the first, nor the last, of many, many, “I can’t believe you’re mine’s.
It was a glorious, colorful autumn.