Before I fell asleep, I remember hearing them talk.
"When I grow up I wanna marry Rachael."
"NO! I'm gonna marry Rachael!"
"We can both marry Rachael. And then we'll be friends forever."
I fell asleep as they began to giggle, then laugh. I loved the sound of their laughter mixing.
We were fourteen. Freshman. Sometime, when we were not looking, Maurice had begun to transform from the short awkward boy with a big mouth to a handsome sophisticated young man. Or so he would pretend. He was just as neurotic as he used to be. He just hid it better.
And lord knows we all had something to hide by this point. I had realized by the time I was twelve that not everyone's daddies spent the night in a drunken coma after shouting at nothing for hours on end. Brain had broken a boy's arm in a fight after a game and never again touched a football.
And Maurice? He kept his secrets, kept his thoughts to himself. Or most of them. You could never see all the way into his eyes.
But suddenly, Maurice was in. He was popular. And we became a little popular with him. Maurice carried the school swim team. And he looked good doing it. Maurice tried out for a school play, and got the lead in his first ever audition. Brian joined stage crew and I?
I was a supporting actor.
Brian and I walked home together every day, after practices were over.
The way he looked at everything but me on the walk back those warm fall afternoons meant more to me than the stares of all the other boys
except when Maurice would smile, really smile at me
which I hate to admit.
He finally asked me out at the beginning of sophomore year.
Brian was a good boyfriend. He remmbered. He explored with me. He helped me learn things, things neither of us knew anything about. He held me gently. So gently. He was afraid of hurting me. Always so afraid of hurting me.
And Maurice smiled with us and laughed but I could feel his eyes on me. His intense dark eyes always searching me.
Brian knew it too for those eyes were searching him as well.
His eyes were full of desire. For me, for Brian, for both of us, for our bond...
I'll never know I never understood him. I never could.