A Thousand Boy Kisses

By: Tillie Cole


Jorie’s eyes closed. When they opened again, she mouthed back, “I love you and I’ll miss you too.”

She held her hand up in a small wave, and Rune met my eyes.

“Ready?”

I nodded, then he placed me in my chair and took me from the hall. When he had placed me in my seat and gotten into the car, he looked over to me.

“Where are we going, Poppymin?”

Sighing in complete happiness, I revealed, “The beach. Let me see the sunrise from the beach.”

“Our beach?” Rune queried as he started up the car. “It’ll take us a while to get there and it’s already late.”

“I don’t care,” I replied, “As long as we make it before the sun.” I sat back, taking Rune’s hand in my own as we began our ultimate adventure to the coast.



* * *



By the time we arrived at the beach, the night had drawn on. Sunrise was only a couple of hours away. And I was content with that.

I wanted this time with Rune.

As we pulled into a parking spot, Rune looked over to me. “Do you want to sit on the sand?”

“Yes,” I said hastily, staring up at the bright stars in the sky.

He paused. “It might be cold for you.”

“I have you,” I replied and watched as his expression softened.

“Wait here.” Rune slipped out of the car, and I heard him taking things from the trunk. The beach was dark, lit only by the bright moon above. In the moonbeams, I saw Rune laying a blanket on the sand, a few extra blankets from the trunk beside him.

As he walked back, he reached up and undid his bowtie, then snapped open several buttons of his shirt. As I stared at Rune, I asked myself how I had gotten so lucky. I was loved by this boy, loved so fiercely that other loves paled in comparison.

Though my life had been short, I had loved long. And in the end, this was enough.

Rune opened the car door, and reaching in, he took me in his strong arms. I giggled as he cradled me. “Am I heavy?” I asked as he shut the car door.

Rune met my eyes. “Not at all, Poppymin. I’ve got you.”

Smiling, I pressed a kiss to his cheek and laid my head on his chest as he walked us to the blanket. The sound of crashing waves filled the night air, a gentle warm breeze blew through my hair.

When we arrived at the blanket, Rune dropped to his knees and gently laid me down. I closed my eyes and inhaled the salty air, filling my lungs.

The sensation of wool covering my shoulders made me open my eyes; Rune was wrapping me up warm in the blankets. I tipped my head back, watching him behind me. Noticing my smile, he kissed the tip of my nose. I giggled, suddenly finding myself held tightly in Rune’s protective arms.

Rune’s legs straightened to box me in. My head fell back to rest against his chest. I let myself relax.

Rune pressed kisses to my cheek. “Are you okay, Poppymin?” he asked.

I nodded. “I’m perfect,” I replied.

Rune’s hand pushed the hair back from my face. “Are you tired?”

I went to shake my head, but wanting to be honest, I answered, “Yes. I’m tired, Rune.”

I felt as well as heard his deep sigh. “You made it, baby,” he said proudly. “The blossom trees, the prom…”

“All that’s left are our kisses,” I finished for him. I felt him nod against me. “Rune?” I said, needing him to hear me.

“Ja?”

Closing my eyes, I lifted my hand to my lips. “Remember, the one thousandth kiss is to be when I go home.” Rune tensed against me. Holding his arm tighter around me, I asked, “Is that still okay?”

“Anything,” Rune replied. But I could tell by the hoarseness of his voice that the request had hit him hard.

“I can’t imagine a more peaceful and beautiful send-off than your lips on mine. The end of our adventure. The adventure we’ve been on for nine years.”

Looking back at him, I held his intense eyes and smiled. “And I want you to know that I’ve never regretted a day, Rune. Everything about you and me has been perfect.” Gripping his hand, I said, “I want you to know how much I have loved you.”

I turned my shoulder so I was staring Rune straight in the eye. “Promise me that you’ll go on adventures around the world. Visit other countries and experience life.”

Rune nodded. I waited, waited for the sound of his voice.

“I promise,” he replied.

Nodding, I released a pent-up breath and rested my head against his chest.

Minutes and minutes passed in silence. I watched the stars as they twinkled in the sky. Living this moment.

“Poppymin?”

“Yes, baby?” I replied.

“Have you been happy? Have you…” He cleared his throat. “Have you loved your life?”

Answering with one hundred percent honesty, I said, “I’ve loved my life. Everything. And I’ve loved you. As clichéd as this sounds, it was always enough. You were always the best part of my every day. You were the reason for my every smile.”

I closed my eyes and replayed our lives in my mind. I remembered the times I hugged him and he hugged me harder. I remembered how I kissed him and he kissed me deeper. And best of all, I remembered how I would love him and he would always strive to love me more.