He Should Have Kissed Her

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
During his journey back home in the slowly slumbering sunlight, he thinks to himself about what he would change. Him standing over her, six feet and one desperate inch compared to her five feet and four inch figure, hidden by his shadow from the world. Maybe he should have leaned lower and focused on her face instead of her shoes—scuffed, white sneakers he had grown too familiar with. Maybe he could have pulled her close to him, thumbs pressing into her waist. Perhaps. Maybe. Sometime soon, we'll see. All of them pathetic excuses that somehow tumbled through his blonde curls, becoming a tangled mass of roots seizing his mind.

In the moment, kissing her had felt premature, twisted, cruel. He couldn't do something so important so unexpectedly, even if the tilt of her head and the stretch of her delicate neck had seemed to beg him.


Today just wasn't right.

The stray cats in her neighborhood were chattering too loudly, the streetlamps were late turning on, even the dusty scent the air carried left him with bitterness on his tongue. She deserved a passionate expression, smooth and flavored with the delicate notes of strawberry and honey, not the bubblegum and acetone that now rests between his teeth. There had been so many other ideal days to do it. He had idled away every one.

August 6th: her spinning strings of leather colored hair were plastered to her forehead from the harsh rain. She was laughing and he intended to breathe in her joy, but the evanescing clouds interrupted him, distracting her with periwinkle skies.

November 15th: his birthday. She had gifted him a simple, salt and pepper sweater, one that he wore with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Before he could lean over the tempting tissue wrappings, she had asked him to try it on.

January 23rd: his arm was wrapped around her, the top of her head barely brushing his shoulder as they leaned together, sharing common warmth, staring out of his picture window at the cotton candy drifting through the air. She yawned, swayed for a moment, then slept.

And now it's March 17th.

Imagining her as he walks is torture, an aching behind his eyes drawing him backwards, thoughts completely consumed by the nectar that spills from her lips when she speaks. Those lips—parted and soft—topped with a sharp cupid's bow that would fit so perfectly beneath his own. He would tease at the edges, daring to pinch the tenderly wrinkled puff of flesh, daring to linger there a moment too long. He would dare a great many things, none of which he had dared tonight.

Deftly, pace unwavering, he swipes a fist sized rock up from the ground and, with a flicking motion, sends it flying in a diagonal across the street. As the projectile lands against the black concrete, a car passes, unaware and oblivious to his conflictions.

He mumbles a symphony of frustrated words to himself, shoving his itching fingers deep into the pockets of his jacket. His palm stings where hers rested mere minutes before.

He should have kissed her.