I read from the grass and then from the bed, both times in the shadow of leaves, next to children’s laughter. First the park, then in my apartment, up from the street, where summer floods from the fire hydrants and the blow-up bouncy castle is green and blue, matching my view from the ground.
My neighbor Leo has swim goggles wrapped across his forehead. Spy glasses, he tells me, and I have glasses that can read backwards, his friend chimes in because Leo has wanted me to meet her, his friend, my friend, I don’t know how many times he has said this now, my friend, my friend, who I must meet.
Her brown bangs take off running above her eyebrows in a straight line, eyes huge as she surveys my apartment. Leo has flung the door open and soldiered in barefoot but she remains in the hallway, against the wall and tells me her name is Annique not Unique, she is very specific about that, and I wonder, still, how she spells it.
Their tongues are matching green and her shirt is stained the same as they each slurp from wooden sticks and when Leo’s ice slides to the floor, before I can chime in that we haven’t washed it, his dirt-stained hands are wrapped around the forest green chunk and it’s back in his mouth, with Annique gasping, her head shaking at her friend, her friend, her friend.
They speak a language I know I used to understand because while I think to grab a paper towel for the green ice that now leaks across the floorboards, they are already, do you wanna, and the words are off running along side the excitement caught up in her shriek, hand in hand galloping down the stairs past walls that are covered in the dust of tire tracks from carrying the bicycles up and down.
They are off, our brief, necessary meet and greet now over, and I smile thinking of summer and ice melting at my tongue, palms sticky, shirt stained, running hand in hand, breathless with do you wanna?