There were words. They were just beginning to surface. Sometimes she had to bite them back, force them away. Keep them from spilling off her lips and into the vacant space between them. As yet, they were only her words. And so she kept them close.
He too had his words. She could see them behind his eyes sometimes, see them in his acts. But he did not say them, and she wondered if it was just her imagination. She was half convinced it was.
Sometimes he wanted to give her his words, sometimes they were on the tip of his tongue. He wanted to, but he didn’t. How could he? She kept herself so far away—he couldn’t get close enough. He couldn’t give her the words. And anyway, he feared they wouldn’t be returned.
He didn’t realize, but she was full of insecurities. She worried about the things she said and the way she said them, about her clothes and her body, her hair and her makeup, the way she looked in the morning and whether her pancakes were cooked right. She felt like she was in middle school again. But it was worse, because at least in middle school, all her clothes stayed on.
She was pretty, and he liked her.