…to the boy in August


I do not remember much of the context anymore, that’s true. I was little. We both were. In my mind, it makes your action that much more incomprehensible. I do not understand it now and I certainly did not then. I was seven. At most, you were eight.

It was August, sticky stifling August. We sat in a row on a poorly shaded bench waiting for the trapeze. The excited chattering blended with the cicadas in my ears. I stayed quiet, instead studying the geometrical weave of the net, the white puffs of chalk were the closest things to cloud up there in the blue. I was entranced by the knowledge that soon I would be up there, high and flying.

Your jostling cut through my thoughts as it dominoed down the line. Your voice was raspy, your tone inflated. I looked at you and you stared back. The sand felt sweaty in my sandals.

“Do you dare me to spit on her?”

Your question must have been rhetorical because you did not wait for a response from your friends.

The cicadas seemed louder, or maybe it was the rush in my ears. Airless August grew hotter but you laughed. With a hesitant fingertip I removed your spit from my shoulder and wiped it in the dirt. I did not say anything. I had not yet quite learnt how to speak.

If I could re-enter that moment I would ask you why, though I am fairly certain you would not have an answer. Perhaps the question might have brought you enough pause to rethink your amusement. I’m fairly certain I don’t believe that.

I did not say anything, and a part of me is content with that. Instead I climbed, up into the blue.


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