On The Hillside

We’re on the hillside.  It’s recess. We’re playing with little toy dinosaurs.  I am the orange one, my favourite, and you’re the blue.

You have a poisonous bite – that’s your secret power, I tell you.  At the end of our game, I make a joke – you’ve bitten your tongue.

Your eyes fill with tears and your bottom lip trembles. So I wrap you in my arms, tell you it’s okay – you’re immune to your own venom.

The bell sounds. It’s time to go back to class. The other kids stagger up the hill, they pass us by. We stay where we are for a little longer.

We’re playing in your cubby house.  Inspired, for a moment, I grab you. I kiss you.  The same as how we catch and kiss the girls at lunchtime.

Suddenly, a banging. It’s your mother’s fist pounding against the kitchen window. She was watching. She calls my name, summoning me inside.

Afterwards, I tell you what she said: that what I had done was wrong, and that I must never do it again. Ever.

What I don’t tell you is that she slapped me, setting her message deep inside of me.