J called me last night and we talked about wisdom teeth and kangaroos and other illegal substances until past one in the morning. It was a pleasant conversation but with some vital component strangely absent, as usual. Tonight we went out to dinner and on the drive back to his place, with the night's end fast approaching and heavy thoughts on my mind, I suddenly fell silent.

"You're awfully quiet tonight," he said as we pulled into the parking lot in front of his building. "What's on your mind?"

"I'm not sure," I answered truthfully. "I feel confused right now and I'd like to de-confuse myself but I'm not sure where to begin."

He suggested that I come up for a cup of tea and I accepted. We sat on his couch for nearly an hour without speaking, staring out the window at the lake which glittered like scattered diamonds on a bed of black velvet. The light reflecting off the water made dancing shadows on the wall and across our darkened faces. The sea salty air seeped in through the open window, making the room heavy with cool, wet air and silence.

"I wonder," I said softly, after awhile, "what it is that made you walk me to my car that night. Why did you ask me for my phone number?"

He sat quietly for a moment and when he spoke, he chose his words thoughtfully.

"At the party that night, you were lying across the three of us in the hammock. I'd never met you before and, normally, that would freak me out for a stranger to be that close. But it didn't freak me out, because somehow you didn't feel like a stranger. I felt completely comfortable around you and I didn't know why. But I knew that you were smart and pretty and I wanted to be around you more and for once in my life, I decided to act on it instead of letting another opportunity pass me by.

And the more time that we spent together, the more I realized that you are everything I've ever looked for in a person. You have every single trait and characteristic."

I'd been studying the fibers of the couch cushion rather intently up to this point but now a small, quiet smile began to find its way to my lips. I raised my eyes slowly to meet his.

"But?" I asked, softly.

"But," he finished slowly, "as all of those perfect traits and characteristics come together... I find that all I want from you is friendship. And I don't know why."

There was a pause.

"This is because I didn't like Super Troopers, isn't it?"

We both laughed. "It's just so strange," I went on, shaking my head. "Because you really are great..."

"... and you're perfect for me..."

"... and this all makes sense..."

"... and yet it doesn't."

I smiled. "And yet it doesn't."

Then the dog started nudging me with his stuffed caterpillar and we played a short-lived game of fetch and watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force and talked about high school and graduate school and we laughed some more and then it was late and he walked me to my car and gave me a long, warm hug goodnight and it was all really very perfect and happy in its own bittersweet kind of way.

And the whole way home, I cried.