I fell in love with Alex. It wasn't the slow, burning kind. But the fast, and hard, and intense kind. The kind that had our parents shaking their heads and muttering things under their breath. He wasn't white. And I didn't speak Spanish.
But despite their hesitancy to like any member of the opposite sex their kids brought home, Marcia and dad liked Alex. Everyone liked Alex. It took concentrated effort to not like Alex.
It was like he knew, that given enough time, everyone was helpless to his charms. I'm not sure he ever met a person he didn't like.
Before Alex, I'd never ridden in a car with every part of my backside touching the seat. The fastest he could go was never fast enough. A grease monkey, he'd take anything that would crank apart just to put it back together again. The endless hours of joy he could find under the hood amazed me. His hands and forearms were a permanent shade of black no matter how hard he scrubbed.
Alex loved life. The way I'd never seen anyone before. There was a fire in him. He was like a little kid, excited and amazed by everything.
And he loved me. I never did figure that one out.
Whatever we were made of, Alex and I were different. I carried a lot of ugly around with me, and Alex carried none. Where I resisted, he accepted with open arms.
But he loved me. Damn, he loved me. My heart never stood a chance.
Because his was so big.
A year or so later, we were racing down the back road from my dad's house, headed to town when he slammed on the breaks. I couldn't see anything wrong that the headlights were illuminating.
"You see that bunny over there?" He pointed into the opposite lane. And yes, he used the word bunny.
Sure enough I saw what looked like a bunny. A dead bunny. "I think it's dead."
"I swear I saw it move." Alex leaned over the wheel, eyes squinted.
The bunny moved.
"There! It's alive!" Alex threw his door open and was almost to the bunny when a car came flying around the corner.
Alex waved his arms like a madman, yelling for the oncoming car to stop. But he had to dash back out of the way as the car never slowed down and ran right over the bunny.
I slapped my hand over my mouth.
Alex hung his head, bent down, and gently picked up the now, positively, dead bunny. He walked over into the grass between the road and the woods and laid it down.
My hand was still clamped over my mouth when he climbed back into the car. I handed him a bottle of anti-septic and he looked over at me.
His face was completely devoid of expression, but his eyes were staking me. "Are you laughing?"
Unsure of the answer myself, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I love you," muffled against my hand that I refused to move.
He just shook his head. "I'm not sure I still love you."
But his mouth was tugging up at the corner as he put the car in first.