I think of my grandmother’s skin—warm creases, her hands rinsing off a peach, its hair smoothed from the softness of wellwater just eat from my hands, can you taste how ripe it is? I just picked it in the orchard this morning.
Or the first day I met Rebecca in that cold café and how the overhead lighting made her nervous, so she pulled and stretched at the bottom of her shirt whenever she talked, and sometimes even when she listened these lights make me itch.
Or the time Keith and I sat on top of Angel Ridge, his legs hanging over the ledge, his dark hair dissolving into the thickness of the night, sitting by my side, his thumb softening my ear, his words frightening me we are all alone.
And no matter how much I try to remember the warmth of my grandmother’s hands or the way I saw myself in Rebecca’s nerves, I can never escape the night of Keith, the night he made me believe, made me see—that we are no more important than the roots of the trees below.
Bethany Freese is a writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest.