I catch my breath. Jonathan is so close, just there, under the tree. I feel like maybe I’ve just died and ascended to heaven.
“Sorry about before,” Jonathan says. I shake my head.
“It’s fine. It was my fault for being a dork.” I lift my shoulders to my ears, hiding in my own world. Jonathan laughs. It’s light and bubbly, and higher than his voice. It’s wonderful.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Jonathan shifts to face me. My heart beats a little faster. “I’ve seen you in class before, but I don’t think I ever caught your name?”
I blush. Jonathan wants to know my name. “Sherwin,” I manage to say.
“Oh, that’s right!” Jonathan says. “You were in the geo bee in the fall, right?” I nod. He remembered that?
“I was rooting for you,” he says. Jonathan tilts his head to the side and smiles.
“Thanks.” I’m glad I can’t see myself, because I know I must be smiling like an idiot.
“Hey, mind if I get your number?” Jonathan asks. I freeze. He wants my number. Jonathan wants my number.
“Yeah, sure,” I manage to stutter.
“Awesome!” Jonathan reaches to his side but stops and clenches his fist, placing it atop his legs instead. “Bag’s still in my locker. Sorry, I don’t have a pen or anything.”
I light up. I always carry around a pen for this very reason. Well, not for a situation where Jonathan Grey would be asking for my number, but I’d always dreamed of being the guy who whips out a pen when you most need it. I take a black ballpoint one from my pocket and hold it up. Jonathan smiles.
“Excellent! We don’t have paper though...” He taps a finger on his chin, thinking. He does this a lot. Not that I watch him or anything.
I can see the exact moment he comes up with an idea. There’s a small shining behind his eye and a big smile. He holds out his hand. For a brief moment, I consider taking it. I already have (accidentally) today, and it felt amazing. Like a million sparks were lighting up in my palm. He couldn’t be asking for that, though.
Jonathan can clearly see the confusion on my face, because he shakes his hand at me and says, “Write it here.” I hold the pen frozen in the air, still uncapped. I can’t just do that. I can’t just write on Jonathan’s beautiful, light brown skin. That can’t be legal. I shake my head, which makes him laugh that amazing laugh again.
“It’s fine, it’ll wash right off,” he says. I nod, again (I can’t seem to talk today) and uncap the pen. I scribble down the ten numbers that give access to… me. Jonathan couldn’t really want that. Could he? He was probably just being nice. He was the nicest guy at school, and probably the whole world.
Nevertheless, Jonathan’s face lights up, and he grins like he’s just received the best birthday present ever. “Fantastic! I’ll text you later, yeah?” I nod, still unable to form words. Pull yourself together, Sherwin, I tell myself. Jonathan stands, giving me one more smile before he jogs back into the school. I sigh and get up as the bell rings to start 7th period.
I’m at home, scrolling through tumblr, waiting, praying that Jonathan will text me. This is always the problem when you give someone else your number. They might forget, and take forever to respond. Or they were just asking you to get your hopes up and never were planning to text anyway.
“Sherwin, come down for dinner, please,” my mom calls from downstairs. Reluctantly, I turn off my phone and set it on my side table, heading for the kitchen.
I live with just my mom, usually. Every other weekend I go to hang out with my dad. It’s not too bad all the time. It’s just when they get together things aren’t always perfect. My mom’s chill and supportive, though, which is nice.
“How was your day?” Mom asks, displaying a sort of make-your-own-taco bar on the counter. I take a tortilla and fill it. Mom does the same and comes to sit next to me at the table we usually eat at (there’s a bigger one in the other room, but we hardly use it).
“Good,” I say, hiding a grin by taking a sip of water. Just the thought of what happened today still makes me smile, even if it was just a joke or… something.
“Oh, not just good,” Mom says. “I know that look.”
“I got Jonathan’s number,” I blurt, too excited to contain the knowledge. “He hasn’t texted back, though.”
Mom puts a hand to her heart. “Oh, honey, that’s great news. He’s such a sweet boy, too. He helped me with the Fall social.” I roll my eyes good-naturedly. I know that, of course.
A few weeks ago, my mom volunteered to help set up the Fall social for my school. She had me tag along to help too, though at the start I just messed around with my phone. Needless to say, when Jonatahan showed up I was more than happy to help.
“He hasn’t texted me yet, though,” I sigh.
“I’m sure he will soon enough.”
“Yeah. How was your day?”
“Busy,” Mom says, taking another bite of taco. “I got lots of work done today, though. So that’s good.” My mom works as an accountant for a real estate company. It’s never been clear what she does exactly, but I know the company’s been struggling recently. Mom won’t tell me much about it though.
We finish up dinner, and I move to put my dishes in the sink. I glance at the oven clock. It’s seven, not late enough to use the bedtime excuse, but I try anyway.
“I think I’ll go to my room now,” I say. Mom nods, opening her computer again, pushing her long red hair away from her face.
“Goodnight, Sherwin,” she says. I’m all the way upstairs already, but I still shout a “goodnight” at her from the top stair before entering my room and shutting the door.
I throw myself on my bed and take my phone off the side table. I turn it on, my heart quickening as I see that there’s a text.
A text from Jonathan.
“Hey, what’s up? This is Jonathan. :)”
I smile wildly in excitement. I check the text’s timestamp, hoping I'm not so late he’s already given up on me.
Five minutes. That’s okay. I can work with five minutes. Play it cool, I tell myself, though I’ve never been anywhere near good at that.
I quickly add Jonathan to my contacts (!!!) and craft a response.
“Hi!! Hope the ink is washing off okay.”
“Haha yeah, it’s still there, but mostly washed away. ”
“That’s good. I wouldn’t want to permanently tattoo your hand with my number.”
“I suppose that wouldn’t be optimal XD”
I can hardly breathe. Is this really, actually happening? Is Jonathan Grey texting me?
This is all far too much to process, yet my thumbs fly across my phone’s keyboard, not waiting a second to let Jonathan hear what I have to say. Not incredible style, I know.
“Hey, do you have a partner for that LA project yet?” Jonathan asks.
“Not yet. I’m not exactly the most popular kid in school.”
“Aw, come on, you’re great. How could you not be?” God, a minute longer with this boy and I’m sure my heart will fly right out of my chest. He can’t mean it like that, though. Platonic relationships for the win. Yay.
I send a blushing emoji because that’s how I feel. He knows already, anyway. How could he not? It’s like I literally shoved my heart in his face.
“Really though. Partners?”
“:D I’ll tell Mrs. Richmond tomorrow.”
I feel my eyes start to droop. It’s been a long day, though it’s not late at all. But I can’t stop texting him now.
So I don’t.
It’s hours before we sign off together, but not without one last heartstring-pulling comment from Jonathan.
“Jeez it’s late. I can hardly type anymore haha. See you tomorrow though?
“Yeah, for sure!”
“ Okay. Goodnight, Sherwin <3”
That’s it. I’m dead. He sent a—gosh. He can’t mean it, though. It’s just an average dude-bro emoji you send. Obviously. Just for aesthetic.
“Goodnight!” I respond, letting him belive I’ll be going to bed quickly after I turn off my phone, but I know I won’t sleep for a long, long while.
Jonathan sent a heart.