"I don't understand you." he says, and you scoff.
"Few people do, mon ami." you say, a girl of five, and make funny gestures with your hands, but he only has eyes for you until you stand up and stretch your arms to the heavens, and then look back to him and wink as you limp off to your house and he follows after, chiding you for using the leg you don't seem to feel any pain for.
He watches as you stand at the edge of the menacing hill, a boy of eight, and lists off the many, many things that could go wrong.
"You could twist your ankle, it'll ruin your pretty dress, you could break your neck, you'll have to take a bath, you'll need to..."
But he could be speaking to a brick wall, before you squeal with excitement and then throw yourself down the hill, and roll, roll, roll, pigtails untying and your dress smudging green and brown and a shriek, joyful and happy, passing your lips, before the ride ends and he watches, eyes wide in terror, as you roll to a final stop and cease to move.
He cannot breathe as he stumbles down the hill, barely breathing, barely thinking, as he slides down to your side and rolls you over, looking at a face that is mirthful and unable to control her laughter at the prank you have just pulled, and it is all he can do to keep from strangling you, as he sits down by you, crosses his arms in unquiet fury and mutter to himself, "I don't understand you at all."
"Thank you, mon ami." you reply, and stand up to wipe the grass from your knees.
It is quiet in the study hall as he has stacks, and stacks, and stacks of books that stretch to the heavens as he prepares for his junior year finals and studies and studies and studies and curses himself for not studying until two months ago, even though finals are two days away and he's had a pretty decent headstart...and you are sitting next to him, folding origami out of the notebook paper, pulling it this way and that to make the crane's head look up and then down, wings folding in and out.
It is a long, hot moment where he realizes that your eyes and his bright blue ones have met for longer than he is aware of, and he blushes from the bottom of his cheeks to the tips of ears and mumbles out a quick excuse as he returns to the thick book in his hands.
"Why aren't you studying? I don't understand you." he scolds you, still embarrassed, as you gently adjust the neck of the crane and smile.
"Mon ami?" you roll your eyes to the ceiling.
"All right, all right." he mutters, and returns to his book.
"You have so much potential!" he exclaims on the last day of senior year, pointing an accusing finger at you as the two of you sit on the roof of the school and look out to the horizon and beyond that extend on forever as you listen to his lecture and let it breeze by.
"You have brains, you have the skill, you're capable, you're beautiful, why would you waste it all on being an artist? There's nothing for you there but dead-ends and unemployment!" he raises his voice, indignant that you aren't listening and he knows that you aren't.
"It's because it's what I want to do." you reply, simply, simple and plain as day, and it gives his pause, as he regards you not as the little girl he's had to take care of since elementary school and nurture and protect and tutor (unfortunately) fall in love with, and sees you as a woman with choices and decisions that she's already made for herself.
He falls silent and looks back out to the horizon once more, and you grin, nudging an elbow into his arm, firm and solid as rock.
"Mon ami, mon ami?" you grin, prompting him, although there is no need for it as he was planning to say it anyways.
"I don't understand you." he sighs, defeated, as he stares out.
"Thank you very much."
"The job interview is in five minutes!" he practically bellows into the phone in the lunchcourt in sophomore year of college, causing a few to jump and turn 'round in surprise, but he ignores them as he storms down the hall in exasperation, steam hissing from his ears as you, out-of-breath, and running for dear life, manage to reply back into the phone.
"I'll be fine. It's just ten blocks away." you wheeze, and he groans and plunges his face into his hand and prays to whatever deity is listening.
"It's in five minutes. And you overslept." he says, and there is tsk of disappointment on your end as you reply, "You think the glass is half-empty, huh?"
"I'm realistic. You'll never make it on time!" he snaps, and he can see the triumphant smirk on your face, unrelenting and refusing defeat.
"You know what's not realistic?" you reply, and he dryly replies, listening to you gasp for breath and shoo people out of your way, "Thinking you'll be on time?"
"I've got a few choice words for you, mon ami, when I see you again. I love you." you say, sarcasm imminent in your voice, and there is a pause as his eyes widens and his mouths dries as the click on the other end.
But there is only silence that answers him, and the typical thought that resurfaces in these brash, absurd moments.
It's night and he's sitting there, watching you dance by yourself in the apartment you bought with the money from your part-time job during college, and there is music playing, a pop song that is very outdated and was popular in high school but is a relic from a bygone age now, and there he watches you dance and he fights the urge to smile at your antics as he approaches.
"Mon ami, why don't you dance with me? I'm lonely out here." you grin as the song reaches a crescendo and you twirl down the waxed floor and slip, your mouth open as you fall to earth.
Of course, there is no need to worry, as you find yourself caught by him, in those strong, sure arms, and the two of you look at each other for a moment, and inch, closer, closer, until there is no space between the two of you.
And then you put a finger on his lips and smile a sweet, playful smile. "Sorry, mon ami. Not until I'm ready."
He sighs, dejectedly, hiding tension that he has suppressed for ages and rights you, fixing a playful glare upon you. "I hate you."
"You mean you 'Don't understand me?'" you suggest hopefully, but the glare only furrows deeper and you laugh.
"That too." he adds.
That is one huge rock in the red, velvet pillow it's embedded in, and you can barely take your eyes off it, much less breathe from the railing that looks out onto the bay and gives the most romantic view of the city, as he looks up at you hopefully from where he is on one knee, smiling up hopefully, anxiously and you lower the hand from your mouth, totally, for once in your life, mute.
"I think I get it. I think I know what I want, and what I need. I know..." he pauses, out of his element and fumbling for words, "...I know it's you."
There is another pause, rife with a tangible silence, and he meets your gaze once more.
"I understand you." he says for finality, and those bright blue eyes look to you, hoping, waiting, watching, as you join him on the ground, on your knees as well, to his immense surprise.
"No, you don't," you tease, as you kiss him, and there is a peaceful moment as there is no room for anyone but the two of you and the future.
But I'll accept anyways, mon ami.