Cheryl had her legs crossed and she sat across from Toni, reading soft poems aloud.
Earlier that day Toni suggested that they should have a picnic out in the park, spend some romantic time away from their studies and just relax. Cheryl couldn't agree more.
Finals were forcing their noses into books and they rarely talked anymore, which is why Cheryl couldn't wait to get out of her god forsaken dorm.
"Rupi Kaur is so real... In her poetry. You know?" Cheryl asked.
I smiled and nodded along, taking a sip of my lemonade which was slowly watering down thanks to all the ice Cheryl insisted on having.
"She's a lovely woman. I'd love to meet her one day..." I reply, nonchalantly gazing around the field flooded with sunflowers we chose for our picnic. Its Cheryl's favorite spot near campus.
She told me that if she were to die here, on campus, she would want to be buried beneath these flowers. Or else she would haunt me, she would say.
"Let's go for a walk. Right now." She says. Her eyes nearly match the sunflowers' soil when the sun hits them just right. I grin and begin to stand up.
She giggles and hurries up, her vibrant shade of red coating her lips making her smile shine.
"Jesus Cheryl, you're softening me up." I state. We walk, hand in hand (how cheesy) down the small hill. She smiles like she's trying not to and avoids my eyes.
"What?" I ask.
"I mean... You weren't exactly threatening before I came along so..." I pause and playfully punch her arm, laughter overcoming both of us.
We giggle and slowly kind of gallop down the emerald blades of grass.
Her black sandals are strapped onto her feet tightly, contrasting the paleness of her skin. She catches my gaze and stops, bending down and unlacing her straps, stepping out of both her sandals.
Cheryl stands up with them loosely hanging from her hand and she smiles at me, tossing them aside.
"You know, someone could steal those." I try to sound serious but it doesn't work.
"Right.. Someone's gonna walk up our hill and say 'wow, I needed some black sandals, I'll just take those'. I'm so sure..." She retorts.
I gently punch her arm again and we walk our usual path through the at least six feet tall sunflowers.
Cheryl's hair is folded into a neat braid and a while back, I managed to stick some tiny lavender colored flowers into it. She tried to hide her smile but I know she loved it.
On the outside, Cheryl is like concrete; strong, blank, tall. But on the inside, she is similar to a delicate flower, like a blooming rose; one mistake and you could kill it.
She's raw and beautiful and sacred. To me, at least.
Her smile makes me smile, her eyes crinkle up when I tell her I love her, her hands are as soft as the feathers that fill her pillows, and- well, you get it. She's perfect.
"What're you thinking, Toni?"
I turn to look at her and sigh, squinting up at the sun I try to shield my eyes.
"You." I smile.
Cheryl shrugs and rolls her eyes. She hates when I talk nice about her, which is odd but it is what it is.
She tucks a flying strand of her burnt sienna hair behind her ear and looks around at the flowers.
We end up at the treeline and find a low branch swooping down close to the ground to sit on.
Cheryl swings her legs up and she settles down on the branch, kicking up some leaves as she continues to swing her legs. I take a spot next to her and tap my acrylic nails against the bark.
"What am I to you?" Cheryl asks, her voice soft and dreary. I look over at her, my eyebrows furrowed and my lips pursed.
What kind of a question is that?
"Cheryl, you are the most precious thing in this world to me. You have such a gorgeous soul that never fails to brighten my ever changing mood.
I love when you're eyes have small wrinkles at the corners after I tell a really dumb joke. You-you show me what a real woman is. Cheryl, you are the best thing in my life and that won't change.
Ever. You are my everything." I finish, her eyes don't meet mine but she is smiling down at the ground.
I laugh and wait for her to look at me. She finally faces me and I lean forward, grabbing her cheeks and pulling her mouth onto mine.
Her lips are warm and her lipstick tastes like cherries, the fake ones on ice cream sundaes.
She pulls away and leans her forehead on mine, taking a deep breath in.
"That was super cheesy, TT." She says.
I laugh. Her head falls on my shoulder and she loops her arm through mine, swinging her legs at a slow rhythm.
"Shut up, you spectacular devil..." I rest my head against hers and look out onto bright yellow in the distance, the thought of those warm sunflowers making me smile.