Benefit of Being Last


The summer sun's setting rays caress our skin as I sit with Will on the dock, slowly swaying in the water. The towel is warm, dry and fuzzy between my legs and the rough wood dock. I swing my legs, gently tapping Will and his toe touches the water. A ripple spills over the gentle green waves, distorting our reflected shadows. The new year is looming ahead of us, an intimidating giant we're not sure we can conquer. But for now, we sit by the last stand of the sun in the last days of summer.

As I rest against his strong shoulder, he traces the lines on my palm. "Teir…." He lets my name drift across the air like the leaves on the lake, dancing around the escaped dandelion fluff. This is the only thing that I can't face. I would lose my best friend to the ridiculous rituals of high school. His tracing increased pressure and if I turned my head I would see the slightly guilty, sad face I could imagine.

He turned my head for me and studied his hands instead. I tried to say it for him, like the Good Girlfriend would but I'm not the Good Girlfriend, I'm too vindictive so even though I make him say it, I shut my ears to the words. I lose myself in the shimmering blue green of the waves, try to imagine the freedom that the single Mallard has as it floats on the pond. Then I saw the other duck, the mate that swam up. Closing my eyes in disgust, the sounds of reality faded in.

"Teir? Teir, please don't space out now, please…" I simply look at my toes, avoid the obvious. "Do you think it's too obvious that my toenail polish doesn't match my new flip flops?" There was no frustrated sigh of exasperation. There was simply and excess of Will as he tightly hugged me. "I know I've said it before, but God, Teir, I love you. Please don't ever change, please." The words he spoke into my hair took seconds to seep down into my ears and even more to register. I buried my embarrassed face in his warm shoulder. He loved me, a serious love, not the love you sign letters or chain e-mails with. What to say? So many things to say!

"Will you be my Mallard?" ohgodno. nonononoNO! My face hid back in the collar of his shirt. "Like the two on the lake?" There was a smile in his kind, questioning voice and I nodded through my embarrassment. A Mallard.

He held me in the last stand of the sun, in the last days of summer but we knew it was just the start. "You completely, Will." I said to the setting sun, it was the proper response; five minutes late for the Good Girlfriend but just right for Tieranny, and most importantly, Mallard-less. His hand squeezed mine as a curious haze of air tugged at his hair. "Glad you feel the same way." So we sat on the dock and watched the Mallards and the sunset until we couldn't and then some. We sat without words but in no definition of silence as life continued around us. We sat and simply existed, simply were aware, simply were with each other. Simply completing each other.