I had to stand on the desk on that summer day as I watched from my bedroom window. It was in my hands. I hardly see that it could have been any other way.
She was there in her garden, fresh from school, lying on the baked grass, eyes alive behind the darkest of shades, skirt hitched above her waist. Transparent lace. Her head could have been turned towards me; or not, but her eyes would have been; seen. She knew I was there. She wouldn’t have done what she did; been where she was; lay in that state there, if she hadn’t been aware.
You should have pulled harder during that long summer that seemed to last a lifetime. You could have been more than the wooden doll you were. The touch and grab of adolescent ignorance. The play that never became our passion. You could have said more than nothing when our eyes were burning into each other. You should have moved. You should have touched. You should have taken what was yours-to-take, on one of those hot summer days.
We could have made it in another life. It was the time, the heat, the hormones, the closeness of you next door as we grew together towards what we became. And all of that worked for us. But then there was the washed-out blonde of your mother’s raggedy hair; your dad storing coke in the back and getting beaten up by our other neighbour because he watched his son beat up the other neighbour’s son; and the rumour that the son was gay; and it was a council estate; and your mom was sleeping with a runt of man who your dad punched once (his due, said the police); and all of those things conspired behind our backs. But we were beautiful; animality and appetite. Not like that. But all the same; like that. We held each other in another world, where we wanted what we wanted enough to dive in. We could have caught it; if only we’d tried. We wanted it all; but not enough
You are a mystery to me now. Your years have passed. The world has become old around you. You’re still and always ever young. But ever’s gone away.
She lay there on the grass. Alive to the world. Open only for my eyes. She glowed.
I threw the tissue of my future in the bin. It’s empty now.