THE ROOFTOP

someone broke my heart and so I turned them into a list.
  1. I ran away for the first time when I was five. I packed a bible, an apple and a pair of scissors.
    (I was running away because my parents tried to take away said scissors after I cut off my own hair.)
  2. I came home almost immediately because I lived in Rome at the time and it was hot and I was hungry and I didn't want an apple as much as I thought I would.
  3. Running away these days was much, much harder.
  4. Until I found the roof.
  5. To get to the roof, you have to walk down the alley of a local Italian restaurant. There's a set of stairs that leads to the door of an apartment above the restaurant. Any other person might have seen the door and thought, "ok, this is a person's home, I'm staying down". But of course, I'd have nothing to tell here if I didn't climb up anyway.
  6. Across from the stairwell is another part of the building, on the same level (if you can envision that).
  7. To get to the other section, you have to swing your legs over the railing that separates the two sections and then jump to the next part, lift yourself up and jump down. And then you have to climb up a terrifyingly old and unstable ladder that barely clings to the wall with rusted up nails.
  8. But then-
  9. Then you are at the top of this building, which is adjacent to the local donut shop, so it smells like powdered sugar. And across the street is this bar that has jazz nights on Thursday, so you can lay on your back and look at the stars and listen to people play out their feelings.
  10. And you are alone but not really alone, which is the best kind of solitude.
  11. I brought J to the roof after I decided that he was the one person worth sharing my solitude with.
  12. J and his girlfriend of a few years had just broken up. When I met him, it was through mutual friends. I didn't think much of him initially.
  13. Until I heard him sing.
  14. I learned a long time ago that breaking up relationships breaks off little pieces of yourself as well. I couldn't bring myself to even consider it. But the feelings were there. They were always there.
  15. J is funny in a way that requires thought, though never in a condescending way. He is gentle without being a coward. And his voice. That voice...I could write a million sentiments like this about him and you'd still never come close to understanding his magic. To know him is to care about him. That is all you have to know.
  16. When I heard that he was single, I should have been cautious. But I didn't want to be cautious. I enter every situation with all of myself or nothing at all. I have never been very good at happy mediums.
  17. To start, it was the perfect night. How many stories begin this way? I'm sorry to bring you in with a cliche. Nevertheless, it's true. Ohio had the perfect summer and that night was a prime example.
  18. The day had been only a little warmer than enjoyable but the night quickly settled. There was just enough of a breeze to dry sweat as soon as it formed.
  19. I was wearing a tank top that had a swoop bottom, exposing the smallest amount of stomach and a pair of hightop shorts with my favorite brown boots. This detail isn't important or anything, I just remember feeling beautiful. My hair was in a bun and my eyeliner was at the end of its journey, but I felt beautiful anyway.
  20. I led J down the alley that night and because we went earlier than I normally go, we had to keep crouching and smooshing ourselves against things to hide when someone walked by. We were ninjas.
  21. "Ok, here's the part where you climb." I told him at the final ladder.
  22. I led him up, trying my best not to slip and kill us both. That's the kind of luck I normally have.
    (Make it up safely a thousand times when it's just myself? Sure, no problem. Bring a cute boy? Put my foot on a rung the wrong way and fall, killing him + any chance at true love, goodbye)
  23. Once you're on top, you have to crawl along the perimeter to get to the best spot, which is slightly elevated. My knees were completely black by the time we got there.
  24. We were sitting cross legged on the roof. I had my shoes off, a bag I brought with me to the side.
  25. "Close your eyes." I told him.
  26. I waved my hand in front of his face to make sure they were really closed before pulling out several bags of various gummies.
  27. He was so excited.
  28. "I've been craving gummy worms forever!"
  29. We lay on our backs and he told me about his music and I told him about how shitty the year had been. I told him my heart was broken from the various beatings it kept taking.
  30. Hours passed.
  31. I snuck glances at him and his profile was highlighted from the light of a building next to us.
  32. As we climbed back down, it was late enough that we should have parted ways, but I didn't want to.
  33. I drove us back to my place, where his car was parked.
  34. "Can I do something?"
  35. "Yeah. Of course."
  36. I was cautious this one time. Moving slowly because I didn't know at what point he'd stop me or change his mind.
  37. He didn't.
  38. I kissed him.
  39. I KISSED him.
  40. And then I laughed because the joy that had been boiling all night finally flowed over.
  41. He kissed me back.
  42. We weren't an epic love story. There was no rivaling families or wrong first impressions to set us in motion.
  43. We were friends and then we weren't. That's it. That's the story.
  44. But you're smart enough to know that these things aren't told unless they're already rotten.
  45. There are a lot of things that I want to tell you about J. There are so many things. Not all good. Mostly good, but not all.
  46. This is the first.