Johnny grabbed his headphones, plugged them into the phone and turned on a random mix on Amazon Prime.
Leash in hand he grabbed his shoes, corralled a very excited a dog and walked out the door. A wave of heat washed over them and he smiled because somewhere far away but still very close June was enjoying that same summer sun.
He figured with the weekend almost at hand she was reviewing her list of things to do. He could see her holding two different checklists, one typed with all of the weekly grocery needs and the other handwritten containing errands and miscellaneous items she wanted to take care of.
She was lucky he didn’t have access to her computer or the file she used for making that grocery list because he would add a few things to it. Not too many, he didn’t want to make it obvious that someone had tampered with it but just enough to catch her mid shopping.
It was the kind of silly thing that she didn’t always laugh at. When she was happy with him (which was most of the time) it would make her giggle and if he was close she’d comment on it.
But during the odd moments when she was upset with him she would wave the list at him and talk about it as being proof of his being a pain.
He would listen to her and ask her if she loved him and she would roll her eyes and say yes. He’d smirk and she’d tell him that love was not an excuse for being annoying and he’d tell her that he put up with her annoying habits and she’d ask for him to list them.
He’d tell her that they didn’t have time to go over it all and she’d sigh at him.
Most of the time it would go no farther but every now and then they would hit one of those hiccups that couples do and she’d yell at him. Sometimes he would apologize immediately and remind her that she was his air and all he wanted to do was make her happy.
It was the kind of thing that people who didn’t know them would roll their eyes at and call juvenile but they didn’t care because the only two people who mattered were the people in the relationship.
Midway through the walk Lips Like Sugar came on and he smiled. June would tell him that was awful music but he didn’t care. That wasn’t his favorite band or song but the theme of it made sense to him. Her lips did taste like sugar to him and he loved telling her that.
He remembered one time after they broke up she had said it made her uncomfortable to hear that. But when they got back together she confessed she never got tired of being told she was sexy and beautiful but she thought he shouldn’t say it because she was concerned it would make him feel bad.
Sweat ran down his face and into his eyes, blurring his vision and making him blink. He thought about how silly the words “broken up” sounded to him.
They weren’t in high school and hadn’t been in years but according to her they were “broken up.” He didn’t buy it and didn’t believe she really did either but their current circumstances made it impossible to see each other with any sort of consistency and she didn’t like that.
He figured that was the root of the problem and imagined that if they were in a position to see each other with more regularity things might be different.
Years ago he might have shrugged his shoulders and figured that sometimes you just let go and move on but she was different and he was different.
Or maybe it was more accurate to say they were a different sort of couple. He had no doubt they had more trust and more depth than any other relationship he had ever been in.
Things were more complicated and the complexity made it all more challenging but he was convinced that you don’t just give up because things are hard, especially when there was so much potential.
He decided to be patient and see how things played out because it was worth it to him and because he didn’t mind throwing himself into the breach for her.
If his gut was right and his heart was true it would be one hell of a story. That wasn’t why he was in it but sometimes he liked to picture a time decades from now when the two of them would talk about how unexpected it all was and how happy they were.
It just felt to him like they had a great life to be shared, all they had to do was keep walking towards it.