I met freedom at 10:42 on a friday night. It came in the form of a long-bodied 80’s chevy, paint not unlike that of the dark california sky and a driver as wild and as calm as the sea. Leather clung to flushed skin as tires faltered against gravel, only finding relief in the smooth embrace of asphalt. His dark eyes never tore from the road, an arm propped leisurely on the window seal as we drove along the coastside. The roaring engine and lashing wind drowned out the crashing of the frothing sea, the radio sounding off a muffled rendition of ‘Stairway To Heaven’.
Laughter in that moment came easier then, than it ever had before. The carelessness and thrill-seeking madness of youth buried all other emotions that begged me to think properly. His smile was airy, the corners of his lips curling up effortlessly and eyes shining under the light of the stars. He was unbroken and untamed against the world, greased hair refusing to give into the assaults of the wind. 60 in a 45, the road hugging the shore was exactly what dreams were made of. Racing away from the burden of life and instead towards the feeling that even though what we were was so wrong, everything about us was so right.
Hills rose from the horizon, towering like a beacon beside the road, and so we veered off of the highway and towards our new destination. As the growling engine was killed the rolling of the waves on the rocks and the stars illuminating the sky threw us into an unbreakable calm. We sat in awe for a brief moment that felt like hours before the silence was broken and he tore away from the leather that begged him to stay in his seat.
In a quiet voice he invited me onto the still-warm hood of the car. We sat close together, a voice in the back of my head telling me to keep my distance, to keep our skin from brushing because I knew I wouldn't be able to walk away and would only reach out for more. Deep brown eyes drew out constellations in the sky, but I only saw the separate world that was him. He was the boy the universe adopted. The stars of moles dotted across his skin, the gentle curls at the edges of his lips, eyes that shone brighter than any moon, and the subtle dust of pink across his cheeks when his eyes caught mine. He smelled of oil, stale cologne, and the salty water of the ocean, and it was as spell-binding as the sound of the crashing sea.
We spoke in hushed voices for hours about everything, and even then it felt as if we had said nothing, as if we could speak for an eternity so long as we were in each others company. His voice was as calming as the ocean, eyes as brilliant as the night sky, and his touch lingered, begging me to abandon the thoughts that kept me steady. Everything was drowned out by the pounding of our heartbeats, his breath heavy and wavering against my lips in the absence of words. All of him screamed out for me to throw all thoughts away, to be with him, to let his lips kiss mine… and so I did. I met freedom in Kim Jongdae.