That Summer At Ease

Summer at Ease

Five years old and shimmering, Tobey and Wendy dip their tiny toes into the cool of Summer. From way far off, they are two afterthoughts on the edge of a dock. From up close, they are woven tapestries that tell a story stretching back to a time when people sat still and quiet together. There’s a trickle of light that threatens the water, and each wave jerks softly to one side to get away. It’s only flirtation, though. It’s only a group of lines to read between like the bundle of sticks Wendy collects to build her fort.

Tobey draws in the dirt with slow, sweeping motions while Wendy piles each crooked twig on top of another until, soon, she’s made a castle. If you squint just right, you can see the moat, the townspeople and the grand banquet hall where great men and women sit feasting and singing songs. If you squint just right, you can see a toast to prosperity and the gift of tomorrow. If you squint just right, you can feel young again.

She rips off a small patch of her dress, ties it to the smallest stick and stabs it into the tallest tower. Tobey takes one of his plastic figurines and places it inside the gate – a piece of him that will silently stand guard. A flower-print symbol. A tireless protector. A waving symbol of presence. 

They both stand up and wipe their knees, their hands still clinging to dirt and youth. Hands that will close in prayer, that will write term papers, that will shake hands and receive first paychecks. Hands that will caress smooth momentum, that will hold newborns and will someday grow wrinkly like onion skin paper.

Off somewhere, the beams of light and the waves are getting less playful. They stand together for a moment like two lovers waiting on a doorstep as Wendy and Tobey stare down at their castle. Their gritty hands reach out for each other with adolescent ease, and they look at what Tobey has written:

Two names. A plus sign. And the word, FOREVER.


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