i felt the music pump through my body as i sipped the bitter liquid from my red cup,
a deep voice spoke from behind me.
i turned to see john b who had a cup of his own,
wearing a painted smile for me.
"as much fun as i can."
he nodded in understanding then said,
he took my hand and lead me to the end of the dock where we would soon take a seat.
i kept my eyes glued to my swinging feet,
trying to ignore how sheepish i felt beneath his admiring gaze.
"you've been such a good guy to me,"
i finally said in a low voice while turning my head to face him.
the world drowned out when my eyes locked with his;
all the beauty i'd ever known laid in them.
"yeah? what can i say. they don't call me the worlds best boyfriend for no reason."
he teased before wrapping an arm around me to pull me into his chest.
i inhaled the scent of his cologne as discreetly as i could,
trying to burn this memory of him, our love, and our time together as best i could into my memory.
i wanted to be able to look back years from now and remember:
"oh, yeah, john b. my first lover."
john b asked to pierce the silence that was hanging with gloom.
"you know what's wrong, john b."
i heard him exhale a sigh that spoke of his own pity.
his fingertips began to trail up and down my back to better support me,
all while having his lips planted to the top of my head.
he finally said,
through a whisper so low i almost missed it.
i could hear the symphony of our own breaking hearts.
summer was coming to an end,
which meant i was well on my way back home a thousand miles away from john b.
"what are we going to do?"
"i don't know. one day a time, right?"
"you don't think we should talk about it now? i leave...pretty soon."
john b began as he rose to his feet,
taking his shirt off and throwing it to the side.
"that my lovely girlfriend and i should go for a swim."
he didn't wait for my reply;
he jumped into the water before us which sent a wave of water to fall over me.
i let out a laugh that echoed throughout the docks.
john b popped up to the surface,
giving me a grin i couldn't refuse.
"come on, y/n!"
i stood to my own feet and began slowly removing my clothing,
revealing the bathing suit underneath,
before i jumped right in the water with him.
when i came up for air,
he was quick to pull me close to him by my waist.
the palms of my hands laid flat to his chest.
"i love it here,"
i said quietly,
pressing a soft kiss to his chin.
"in the cut?"
"no. just here with you, john b."
john b smiled shyly,
as though no one had ever appreciated his side of the world,
then pecked my lips quickly.
i couldn't help but laugh at how coy he could be.
i ran a playful hand through his wet hair,
watching as water droplets fell around us.
"i'm gonna miss you, y/n,"
his hand fitting in the small of my back that was made perfect for his hold,
then placed a lingering kiss to my cheek.
"i'm gonna miss you too."
"gonna find you a new boyfriend in arizona?"
raising his eyebrows in anticipation for my answer.
"i might. but i think i might've hit my peak in my dating life with you. who else would i run from the cops with?"
john b and i shared a laugh together until i asked,
"you gonna find you a new girlfriend?"
i was half joking,
like he once was,
but a deeper part of me was curious to know if our love here would quickly be replaced.
john b took a moment before answering.
when he did speak,
"no. you're the one for me, y/n."
he turned his head away from me to stare at the moon.
i remembered the time he once told me,
no matter where we were in the world,
we would be beneath the moon together.
and that was solace enough for me.
"do you think we're soulmates, john b?"
i asked rather naively.
soulmates were something only conjured into books of tragedy,
films of fantasy.
i had never expected to feel such an abundance of passion, love, and support from just one person.
ever since our very first kiss,
i decided then i would never want anyone else.
he wiped a drop of water away from my cheek with the pad of his thumb and nodded.
"there's not a doubt in my mind we are."
the words caused a contradictory effect in my heart;
how they hurt to know we'd be separated,
for god knows how long,
and how blissful it felt to know our souls had become entwined with golden string.
"it's gonna be a long while without you."
john b and i laid laid back together to soak up the moonlight that brushed our skin and comforted us.
"promise me we'll stay in touch?"
reaching over to thread our fingers together.
john b pressed soft kisses to my knuckles then said,
we inched closer to one another and shared another kiss.
no matter how many times john b and i would indulge ourselves in this action,
it would always feel right.
i felt on top of the world now that i was here with him,
feeling the fervor inside of me react to his softened lips.
when we pulled back,
salt water was clinging to our skin and pulling us closer together.
neither of us ever wanted to leave this moment.
"this is your last party. let's go back, yeah?"
eyeing the group of kids yelling and laughing over by the bonfire.
john b soon led me out of the water,
his hand never detaching itself from mine,
and guided me to the party where my very best friends laid.
hours passed along with the many concoctions of drinks and laughs.
i was full of warmth,
produced by the alcohol and the very company of the pogues.
john b who was now visibly drunk,
stood on the nearest platform and threw his arm into the air along with his drink,
beginning a cheers.
"to y/n. the greatest friend, and an even greater girlfriend."
everyone cheered simultaneously,
sipping their drinks when they came back down.
i smiled as far as my lips would stretch and slowly sipped mine as well,
feeling the sadness tug at my heart while i looked around at everyone.
i knew from the beginning how bittersweet it would be.
but i never prepared myself for how truly difficult it would be to leave this all behind.
john b's eyes caught onto mine,
and i realized that my ache in future departure was felt by him too.
john b stumbled his way over to me and wrapped his arms around my waist,
picking me up off my feet and spinning us around in a moment of rising ecstasy.
we laughed and laughed,
everyone around us joining in on our glee,
until he set me back down.
"i love you so much,"
he whispered with his lips to my temple.
i was taken aback by the words.
it surprised me how genuine they sounded and how vigorously i felt the same.
"i love you more."
his hands were now cupping my cheeks,
pulling me in close to share a kiss that celebrated our very first "i love you."
and how truly beautiful it felt.
i would never forget the taste of liquor that coated his lips,
and i would never know a greater love.
i was convinced i had found my missing puzzle piece;
the reason life was worth living.
summer loving led me to my forever.