The subway ride was only 15 minutes to get to the destination I had chosen for the project. Grand Central terminal was always busy, but some of my favorite pictures I had ever taken were captured here.
There was just so much energy concentrated in one place that it felt intoxicating at times.
“You chose Grand Central terminal? Or is this just a pit stop on the way to our actual destination”, Lark questioned beside me.
“This is the destination. Follow me, young one and I will show you why”. I winked at her as we kept walking. It was almost lunchtime and I knew the area we were heading to would be busy. Eventually, I halted us at a spot near the dining concourse where numerous arches made up the walls and ceiling. “This is our destination”, I said.
Lark looked around a little confused but waited silently for me to explain my choice. I wanted to tell her in Italian though so she could see how much I had been practicing. It would be so cool if one day I could speak as well as she did. That way we could make fun of the guys without them knowing.
I handed her my phone and waited for her to give me a signal that it would be okay to start. Once she gave me that thumbs up, my nerves kicked in and I started to stumble through the greeting I had scripted for myself.
“Vera, sp- spero che quan...quando guardi questo film stia andando bene. Il posto che ho scelto è la Whispering Gallery al terminal Grand Central. L’architettura di questo luogo consente alle persone di stare agli angoli opposti dello spazio e di sentirsi l’un l’altro chiaramente. Come se fossero in piedi uno accanto all’altro”.
As I talked, Lark’s smile grew and I knew I was doing a good job. She could understand what I was saying! She was right, I did know more than I thought.
I finished my script and indicated to her that she could stop recording.
“Luka, this place is so cool! I love how you described it as somewhere people abandon the fear of judgment and just do something for the sake of finding joy. That’s beautiful”. She handed me my phone and turned to look around the space.
Turning back to me, she had a mischievous look on her face. “Can we try the whisper thing? Should we tell each other sweet nothings from afar in hopes that the other will hear?“, she joked.
Even though I knew she was teasing... I still felt my heart start beating faster. I’d love to whisper sweet nothings in her ear.
The problem is that I would mean them.
“Sure,” I replied. “You head to that corner and I’ll head to this one”. We each walked off in the opposite direction. I craned my neck around to see if she was in place and saw her grinning from ear to ear.
“Test, test, test. This is agent one paging agent two. Can you hear me? Over”. Lark’s voice sounded grainy, but I could still hear what she said perfectly. Laughing, I gave her a quick response.
“This is agent two, you are all clear agent one. Over”. Her answering laugh gave me butterflies.
“Aren’t you supposed to be whispering sweet nothings to me agent two?”
I couldn’t tell if she was kidding anymore. Something in her voice had changed. Looking over to her, she was still facing the wall waiting for my reply.
“You look beautiful agent one. You always do though. When I saw you that first day of class, it took my breath away”. The second I finished talking my nerves came back. I couldn’t bring myself to turn and look at her.
She waited a couple of seconds to respond. It felt like forever though.
“I thought that about you two. Whenever I see you, I can’t help but think about how handsome you are”. Her reply was quieter than when we first started talking. I almost didn’t hear her.
She thought I was beautiful and handsome.
The butterflies in my stomach were in full gear now and again, I resisted the urge to look over to her.
I could feel that these words were different. Even though we were several feet apart there was a new dynamic forming between us that wasn’t there before. At least not in full force.
This new feeling... I wanted more of it.
“La-Emily. Earlier I shouldn’t have said that you care for me, in the same way, I care for you. I should have said you don’t have to worry about losing me... because I love you. I think I always have”.
The sounds of the terminal echoed around and my heartbeat boomed in my chest.
Silence answered me.
I messed up. She wasn’t ready to know that and I messed up.
I had finally gotten the courage to turn around and look at her when I felt a small hand lightly pull on my shoulder. I knew it would be her before I even turned around.
“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said...“. Before I could finish apologizing, Lark cut me off.
“Stop. Please don’t take it back unless you didn’t mean it”. Her voice was quiet and it sounded like she was trying to steady it.
“I meant it. Every word”.
She looked at me and it felt like she was seeing into my mind. Her mouth opened and then closed as if she couldn’t find the words she needed at that moment.
When she reached up to gently cup the back of my neck, I realized that she wasn’t going to respond to me with her words.
She was going to respond with her lips.
I lowered my head slightly to close the distance.
Every single f*cking thought in my head vanished and was replaced with one thing. Love. Kissing her felt like an ending and a beginning.
It was a god d*mn symphony.
Her other arm circled around my neck as I brought her closer to my body and the slight moan that escaped had me wishing our first kiss was somewhere more private.
When she pulled away it felt like she was taking a part of me with her. She looked at me and said something that I had been longing to hear.
“I’ve always loved you too”.