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We caught frogs by the old river. We slung nets in the air and pulled onto the shore a woman’s red shoe. Water insects drew the river like curtains. A stork stood one-legged on a rock. We were alone and together. School was out. We played our games seriously. We called each other names. We whispered secrets into necks and palms. We promised we won’t tell, we broke our promises. We told our secrets to the trees instead, murmuring thickly into their barks. Without our secrets, we did not have a body. Without our secrets, we did not need a body.
We ran along the shore, barefooted. We made up a language of flowers and elbows. We married each other, we said – you be mother, I’ll be father. We practiced kissing, our lips wet and cold and slippery like fish. Or a bar of soap. We did what we saw our parents do. We took our clothes off and lay on top of each other. We did what we saw our parents do. We tucked wounds into each other’s bodies. We sulked on rocks. We grew a silence, soft and black, like the hair on our arms.
When the town dog came running towards the river, we scurried after it. We stroked its face, we fed it biscuits. We washed the dog in the river and when it shook its brown body, it threw the river everywhere. We smiled, we dug our feet into the silt. We vowed to never fight again. At the river bank, we grew very old. But when the sky began to go dark, we wanted our mothers and fathers, our beds, a sleep without anger. We hurried to town where the street lamp pulled our shadows out of our bodies. We split. We became You and I.
You walked to your house, I, to mine. To the narrow stairs, the lamp light, yellow and soft. In the kitchen, I heard mother and father laughing. Mother carried a loaf of bread to the living room. Father followed her with a knife. They dropped a kiss in my hair and sat on the sofa. Father brought mother’s fingers to his lips. Mother took her hand back and then sliced the bread. Tomorrow, I will summon each one of your fingers to my mouth, I will blow warm air on your nails. Tomorrow, you will push me away.