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Pill Bugs

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The place where the sun still tasted green, and the butterflies threatened to leap from my throat, that is where he came to meet me. At the sun’s mercy, I fell to my knees, sat for a bit, and my stomach began to hurt. I thought a lot about how you knew how to hurt me. The reality of the situation began to settle in the air. It reminded me of the itchy wool blanket in the back of the cabinet. I cradled my temples and closed my eyes, trying to remember exactly how to cry. I felt guilty for feeling guilty for what I was about to do. You brought this upon yourself, I thought to myself. Brushing off my moment of morality as just a bad case of hunger, I laid back in surrender to the sun. The sidewalk was warm, and I got tired of thinking.
His thin legs looked lost, bobbing under his shorts like a flag whipping in the wind. I focused on his flushed cheeks instead.

“You’re late.” I didn’t bother to flirt. He glanced down, smoothing the wrinkles from his shirt.

“You would’ve waited anyway.” That shut me up.
We silently made our way over to some shade. I thought of what it would feel like if my hands were hidden in his, if he slid his arm around my waist. I wondered what would happen if he kissed me, and I liked it too much. I wondered if the way I was walking was the same way other girls walked, if he minded that I was cold and didn’t want to take off my sweater. “Come closer.” His eyes looked glazed as I scooted towards him; he clumsily threw his arm over my shoulder. It was heavy; I’ll always remember.

I rolled pill bugs into balls and tucked them in my hand for safekeeping. He looked frustrated, like he knew that he should think that I was cute, but that he really just wanted me to stop. He pulled his arm closer, bringing me with him. I could tell he was hungry; I shook the bugs like dice in my sweaty palm to stop their crawling. His hands looked soft, I remember, but his palms weren’t. I remember. He turned my cheek to face his, and forced his rough lips upon mine. For a second, it felt like drowning.

I pried my lips from his, and couldn’t stop seeing your face. “What have I done,” I said.

“He would’ve done worse to you,” he said.

I ran past where we walked, where I fell to my knees, where I thought of how you would taste. I ran straight into your arms and buried my face into your chest. Your eyes looked tired, but you slid your arm around my waist, and hid my hands in yours. We stayed like that for a long time. I remember.
And when we looked down at our hands, we opened them together, like a jointed lotus blossoming under a ripe sun.
“Oh cool! Pill bugs,” you said. I kissed your flushed cheek.



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