Fireworks had been the best ever and there we lie, elbow length apart, on a blanket spread across my hood and windshield. One or two tailgate parties raged on in the distance, but our little world was our own. The air had just a whiff of leftover mugginess, mixed with the sweetness of nearby cornfields, from when a brief squall made us wonder if they'd have to postpone, leaving in its wake a perfect view of constellations that perplex the ages.
After I picked her up at the barn we grabbed sandwiches then took our time finding a spot even though the lot was far from crowded. As the evening progressed the words were increasingly sparse, and somehow, I sensed, just as irrelevant.
I take a deep breath. Right on cue she answers with one that couldn't have been more mocking from a seasoned comedienne. As I look her way with raised eyebrows I'm met with that smile that has a way of answering the present question while raising a thousand more all at once.
"Shall I yawn now?"
"Are you tired?" she replies, eyes ablaze.
I look away and take another deep breath, straining with every fiber to keep it together. Something is different tonight. Whatever it may be, it's throwing me off, but I keep telling myself it's worth the risk of staying on course. I smile.
She turns her head away with nothing to look at but a starry patch of black. Her breath this time is filled with consternation, a gale-force sigh.
"Look, just so you don't have to worry, there is no way we're falling for each other," she asserts with arms folded.
"Ohhhhh kayyy" I reluctantly offer, refusing to leave her stranded.
"I mean, I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page and all."
"Right." My grin starts to encore, adding, "I mean...I've been doing everything I possibly can to keep that from happening."
The forced silence that followed simply could not survive. Impossible to say who started laughing first. Eventually the mutual peripheral surveillance gives way to an exchange of relieved, wistful smiles.
I glance away with, "Aren't we a couple of dipshits."
We cover our mouths as kids giggling in church. At some point she reaches out to the sky for a handshake, "Nice to meet you, we're the Dipshits!" It's a wonder we didn't roll onto the ground, but that would have been all right, so deliciously lost, you might say, in on the joke.