Your hands are sticky and small and seem to cling to mine without trying. I can feel the grit that has built itself up around the base of your fingers, settled into the lifeline of your palm. Your mouth is covered in sugar and I’m afraid a bee might land there in an attempt to gather honey. Your voice spills out and sits in the palm of my hand. I can see the warm glow of your words written across my skin like patterns – dots of I’s slashes of t’s.
Your heart seems to speak directly to mine and sometimes I miss the words you are saying. I try to catch them before they plummet to the ground, splatter on the sidewalk; broken. When you whisper, I’m not always sure I catch what you’re saying, it’s almost like a piece of fog twining around my fingers, but when I go to shake it off, there’s nothing there.
You spin towards me and bubbles erupt from your lips, cascade onto the soft grass at our feet. Here is one that is doing the impossible – holding its fragile frame against the sharp blade of a weed. You run to it and smash it with the heel of your foot. The laughter in your eyes brings tears in mine; instead of the bubble, I see your tiny, fragile heart. I can feel tears smash into my lids, the bones of my cheeks, as I try to stop their onslaught by blinking. You continue to spew bubbles and for a moment they wrap around you like a blanket and cling to your skin and the strands of your hair before disappearing into spots of spent soap.
You tell me that they are tickling your skin, that it feels like the small feet of a thousand ants crawling across your arms. You try to show me, blow the bubbles at me, but they won’t stick. They pop against my shirt, my fingernails, the concrete at my feet. Your eyes cross as you focus on blowing the perfect one, aiming it directly at my heart. It comes out fat and sticky, dripping a trail of soap from your mouth to my chest. When that one breaks, I feel it, the weight of it crushing against my heart as if it could leave a bruise.
The shock on my face surprises you and for a moment you are distracted by the cloudy look on my face. Then, you are running, streaming a trail of bubbles behind you that reminds me of the crushed lace of the cathedral veil I wore after we found out you were coming, the way it foamed at my feet. I’m afraid that the bubbles will carry you away, pull you along with them towards the clouds. I am afraid that they will buoy your body like a balloon and carry you out of my ever-reaching grasp. You run in circles, wider and wider until your shoulders are brushing against the fence. I want to call you to stop or slow down or come back towards the center, where I am, where I can protect you, but instead, you keep going.