Alex and I had a weird conversation the other day. He’d been talking about his dad, opening up with some really personal stuff about family life at home when he was a little kid, and then, next thing I knew, he started making all these suggestive comments.
It felt really weird. We’ve been friends since we were eight, and though everybody always seemed to think that Alex was my boyfriend–or would be once we grew up–he’s always felt more like a cousin to me.
He followed me around for a little while that morning, making these off-color, side-ways flirts. I kept broadcasting thought bubbles with the thumbs-down sign and shaking my head. I didn’t want to say anything to make the situation awkward for him or to put a distance between us, but I also didn’t want to seem receptive to him in that way. Eventually, he wandered out to the bar to practice making a new drink, and I was left alone with my feelings.
Outside, we can feel spring chasing the breezes. Mockingbirds wake us with song at 4 a.m. Lilies bloom with extra zest. Flirty feelings rise up inside of us.
When Gray got home from work that day, he asked me what was on my mind.
“Valentine’s Day is just around the corner,” I told him. “And none of us have romantic partners! It looks like we’ll have to sit out this holiday.”
“Balderdash!” Gray cried. “Valentine’s Day is for everybody! Remember back in grade school when we gave cards to all our classmates? That’s what it’s about. Flirty energy is for everybody! You don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to enjoy it. Let’s throw a Flirty Party and invite our single friends and just have fun hanging out!”
So, I went out and bought Flirty Cow hats for everybody–even the guys–and I called up all our friends. And we had ourselves a Valentine’s Flirty Party.
I baked up a batch of flirty cookies.
Forrest designated himself as the official welcome-hugger.
Aya, who’s got such a sweet, funny, sassy style, tanked up on coffee.
Then, she spent the night trolling teh forums and making plug-ins, choosing mischievousness and nerdiness over flirtiness.
I had fun in the kitchen, enjoying the buzz from the flirty cow hat and keeping the table stocked with freshly baked cookies and cakes.
Emma got into the groove with a little flirty dancing, while Tani, who favored her Mad-hatter look over her flirty outfit, watched, amused.
It was great to see Cassandra. I hadn’t seen her since her dad passed, and when she spent the evening swimming and then hanging out in the kitchen in her swimsuit, it made me smile, remembering how her dad did that at every party.
Maybe because it was Monday night, most of the people we invited didn’t show up–which was a first for us. So the party had a mellow, relaxed feel.
While he was out at the bar, Forrest spied a young woman walking by who seemed heart broken.
He invited her to our party. “Hey, I’ve got the perfect way to cheer you up! Come on inside and eat some flirty cookies!”
Everybody started dancing in the kitchen. Uncle Jacob and Saffron, who were both feeling really flirty, kept looking at each other while they danced, and Forrest made sure to be right behind Aya while he was dancing.
Gray felt really happy that his idea had worked out and everybody was able to enjoy the sweet feelings.
We guzzled Zzz-juice and coffee, and we partied all night, if you call it partying when you’re reading and listening to the sweet tunes of Marcus Eugenius. At 2 am, when the sidewalks were blue with shadow, it felt like partying to us, staying up inside our home and doing whatever we felt like, even if that was just reading and talking.
After the guests left, some of us still weren’t sleepy, so we stayed up talking.
You know you’re good friends when you can feel all flirty around each other, and still remain just friends. We’re so comfortable with each other that we can let our feelings show.
In the early morning, Tani and I started dancing up on the landing. We were both feeling pretty playful and really happy.
I was glad that Gray had suggested the flirty party. It was nice to know that, even if I wasn’t in a romantic relationship, I didn’t have to deny that part of me that enjoyed feeling flirty and turned on. It’s part of being a person, and there are so many different ways to express that energy. One doesn’t always need to channel it towards a lover.
“Hey,” Tani said, after she’d stepped over to look out the window, “somebody’s on the porch. I think you should go see who it is.”
I headed down, thinking maybe Uncle Jacob had come back to get something he’d forgotten here.
But who I saw instead made my heart skip about a hundred beats and then do a triple flip.
There he was, standing on our front porch. Elderberry Wolff, looking all grown up.