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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A car strobed red through the trees in the distance. Plastic bags cart-wheeled in a spiral of white noise in its wake. The afternoon was hot. I lay prone on the concrete which warmed my front while the sun browned my back. I closed my eyes and was anywhere. A cocoon. Fiji. Her bed. The concrete softened beneath me with each rise and fall of breath, drawing me into its porous surface. The weight of summer air pressed gently from above. Air, flesh and concrete became one and I drifted into a blurry sleep. 10 minutes earlier I'd been diving into Richard's pool. His sister was likely still there judging by the yells from over the fence. The water had chilled as the sun pushed shadows ahead of itself into walls and over fences onto the pool's surface, so I'd come onto the street to sunbathe and warm-up. I heard Simone squeal and then an uneven splash. I imagined her limbs flailing wildly to break her fall, and the water enveloping her, maybe peeling her bikini top down a little. I loved her limbs. I'd written poetry about them. Bad poems with the best intentions. Isn't that what schoolboys did when they discovered a girl's limbs had power over them? Didn't they concoct private and persuasive expressions of their admiration? I hoped so. Simone had limbs of note, and other things besides. The reason I was out here on the street, face down on the concrete, was because this is where she had lain yesterday. I was filling in the memory of her lithe outline. The glow of the world around me became brighter. I felt like peeing in my togs and almost purred in my half-sleep when I was startled by cold splashes of water bouncing onto the back of my neck. I tilted my head up to see Simone bending over me, silhouetted against the jewel-blue sky. You alright? She asked. We were wondering where you'd got to. Yep, fine. I replied in a monotone attempt to disguise the thrill of peering into her shape. Come on, she said and held out long arms to pull me up. I refused her offer desperately willing the bulge in my togs to subside. I was being mocked by my body. It was offering the chance of holding her hands or embarrassing myself. I stayed rooted to the ground. Suit yourself, she said, and I couldn't make out her expression against the clarity of the blue behind her. I'm off to make a soda-stream. Come and join us when you're ready. I wondered if she knew. She must've known. How could anyone not know? I flushed red. Ok, I need to dry out a bit more that's all, I mumbled. Ok. See you. She turned and skip-ran for a few steps. The sinew of her hamstrings rippled tightly as she slowed to a saunter. She turned into the gate and with a probing finger pinged the elastic of her bikini bottoms underneath her bum. She glanced back at me smiled. She knew what I knew that she knew. The look she gave me was as if I had changed shape while I was lying there on the footpath, and she was trying to remember how I used to appear. As soon as I could, I got up and followed. The trees revealed themselves in bright swathes along the grass verge. The rough concrete had left shallow indentations across my chest and stomach. I looked over my shoulder and saw the dark shape of my wet outline shrinking in the heat. It was evaporating and merging with Simone's vapour from yesterday. The summer had barely begun and the mix of anxious potential it was cooking already made me sick with happiness. I broke into a canter and dashed up the front steps to Richard's and Simone's parent's place. I was anywhere. Anything might happen. Life moved unstoppably forward. There seemed no purpose to it. It needed none. It was good. It just was. How quickly things change.