Dante called me for a date, and this time, since I wasn’t in the middle of anything, I said yes.
Riding my bike there, I think about his face. Actually, I think about the veins that line his temples. They’re so cool. Sometimes, I can see his pulse beating through them.
We meet in the meadow outside the lounge.
“I’ve been looking at rings,” Dante says. “There’s one in particular. It used to belong to my grandmother. A simple setting: a diamond in a plain gold band.”
“It sounds beautiful,” I say. “I’m not really into jewelry, but if I were, a nice simple setting would be my choice.”
Dante’s gold eyes shine.
“Do you really have no idea what I’m hinting at?” he asks. “Marriage? I mean, not right away, of course, but sometime. I’m actually starting to think about it. Are you?”
I’m taken aback. “Oh. Um. Hypothetically, maybe.”
We play frisbee for a while, and I think back to my frisbee games with Shea. Frisbee was never romantic with Shea–it was a sport, something I might do with a cousin or a best friend.
But with Dante? Who knew that frisbee could be so romantic?
The night is very cold. It will probably frost, and my garden will return to dormancy, even though it’s spring.
We head inside to warm up.
While I’m relaxing in the rocking chair, I review my feelings for Dante. I really like him. I think I want him to be my first. I’m not freaked out that he’s already thinking about marriage. I can see myself living a life with him. It feels right.
Another day, another date. We’re meeting at the Spring Festival.
I keep having to remind myself it’s spring. It’s so cold! And I haven’t seen the sun for weeks. But inside, I’ve got all these spring-like feelings swirling around.
Dante makes room for me under his umbrella. I’m close enough to see the veins on his temple. They’re pulsing.
We decide to do all the romantic things, like try out the love machine.
When Dante meets me there, I see he’s had his face painted. It’s clouds and a rainbow, traced right across the veins of his right temple.
The machine spits out a poem about the earth passing away, and people are no more, and yet, our love, mine and Dante’s, remains.
He seems inexplicably happy, clapping his hands and laughing.
We go back to my place. I stick the bike in the trunk, and climb into the car next to him. I can’t help but feel guilty about all the gas we’re using. I wish he’d ridden a bike there. But since we can’t fit two on my bike, and he’d be driving anyway, I try to let go the guilt.
Looking at the cloud and rainbow painted on his face helps me focus on our innocence.
He grabs me in his arms as soon as we’re inside.
And then, we head into the bedroom to do what I’ve been dreaming of even before he got his face painted.