Up on the Roof

Shane and I were long-distance internet lovers before long-distance internet lovers were really normal. Yes, in this way, I was weird. I know. Shocking.

He came to visit once while we were still dating. I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but he somehow ended up hanging out with me for the day. We played badminton and went to the arboretum and met up with some of my friends and he threw his arm around me amiably and took my picture and played with the family dog. It was a nice day. But the thing I remember most about that day was sharing my “hiding spot” with him. (Not as dirty as it sounds– but we’ll get to that.)

I don’t know if all teenagers do it, or just me, but I delighted in knowing things that no one else in my household knew. I knew, for example, that I could pop the screen off my bedroom window and climb out of it fairly easily. I tried it several times, just to prove it to myself. I never actually had to use my super secret escape method, but I could have if I’d wanted to.

I also knew that I could climb onto the roof of the shed in our back yard and sit on the side facing away from the house, and no one would know I was there. This I did fairly frequently. I had my own room (which was extremely lucky in a family as large as mine), and really, no one ever bothered me if I went to my room and closed the door, but the roof of the shed somehow seemed more private. I’d go up there to think when I really needed to be alone.

I took Shane up there. I’m not sure why. I can’t remember taking any other boyfriend up there. It could have been because I knew he wouldn’t be popping by to visit whenever he felt like it, and climbing up there to invade my privacy. But, mostly, I think it was because I just wanted to share something secret with him, that was only mine to share. In a lot of ways, Shane already knew me better than most people. He’d read my writing (fiction and non-fiction), and when you’re a writer (even if you haven’t decided yet that you’re a writer), that means something. So it was probably also because I felt more comfortable with him than I’d ever felt with Joe.

We sat up there together in the afternoon sun, reclining on the slope of the roof, soaking up the last warmth of the shingles. I don’t remember if we talked about anything important, or if we even said anything at all, but I remember feeling happy. It wasn’t a secret anymore that was just mine– it was ours. And I was glad.

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