Let’s start out with a new tidbit from my novel-in-progress, The Rocky Orchard:
I am barefoot. My absolute favorite thing. I reach down with one toe, just my big toe, to give us the barest little push to keep the swing going. I feel tiny grains of dirt on the porch floor as my toe kisses against them. The extra length of the swing’s chain clanks against the section of chain that’s holding the swing from the porch ceiling. How long has this swing been here? We have never once had to fix it, or adjust it, or anything. Not like the old wooden swing outside, with its absurdly long ropes hanging from the giant pine. We have had to fix that swing a million times, it seems; but the porch one, never. I toss my head back and look up at the ceiling bolt that holds the porch swing in place, ancient and rusty and painted over so many times. The thought of its strength, its endurance, amaze me. And makes me tired, exhausted. The strain of years upon years of holding up the weight of human beings. I twirl the extra chain through my fingers, I clunk it against the taut chain that is doing the work of holding us up. I look over at you. My Eddie.
A line of sweat is just beginning to break out in the crease of your neck. I want to capture the expression on your face and put it in a jar. I want to carry the jar around with me like precious fireflies from a summer night. I have never seen you so relaxed, so contented. As if you know what I’m thinking, you reach for my hand and you kiss it. I am staring at you and you know that I am staring at you, and I tear up, and you laugh. You kiss my hand again. You have that shy-but-formidable look, the one you had on our first date, our real first date. The look that makes you one dimple sing out. The look that made me think that maybe, just maybe, we might end up right here someday, swinging on this swing.
Your hand in mine is sweaty. The cool moistness of your palm against mine sends a ripple through my body, a shudder of feeling. I reach across your body to trace the line of sweat on your neck with the index finger of my other hand. I taste it. The salt of you. I cannot get enough of you.
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