When Riley and I were sixteen I had already been in love with him for four years. He knew it and loved me back in a very platonic, best friend, let me tell you about the girls I am dating kind of way. It was painful. Riley worked at our Dairy Queen all through high school. Dispensing soft serve dreams in cones that taste like Styrofoam five days a week. Once in awhile, I would drive down to the store determined to go in and say hello. My hair would be just right, my walk confident, and I would smile at Riley just long enough to let him know I was there. And then I would laugh and talk with everyone else, only looking over at him once to see if his eyes were still on me. They were. Oh, it was just like something out of a candy colored teen movie. Only it never happened. Instead I would pull into the parking lot, look in the mirror just long enough to to know I wasn't a girl out of any movie I had ever seen and then drive away.
Last night, we went back to that Dairy Queen. Riley and his brothers (all of whom have worked there) posed behind the counter and laughed about the places they have been. I smiled and this time I caught his eye, he was already looking at me. Sometimes you really get that one thing you always wanted.
With a cherry on top.