We were fifteen. We’d snuck into a place we weren’t allowed to be. We’d gone inside my house, I don’t remember why, and the lights were out, my parents not at home. The only light came slanted through the windows. Chris played the piano in the living room while Paul roamed the upstairs hall. What song did he play? I’d gone to get my bathing suit; we were on our way to Kyle’s down the road. Does the song matter more, or that I felt a little frightened there, exploring the shadowy topography of my own house? If you went out the back door, cut a straight line through my yard, slipped beneath the broken fence and snuck through the neighbor’s backyard, you’d be at Kyle’s house. Kyle and I had kissed once, but on this day it is Paul and I who are in love, it is Paul who I will let touch me underneath the water in Kyle’s pool. There will be friends around; there will be friends around swimming in the dark when I let Paul slip his fingers inside my bikini bottom. It is Kyle and Chris and our other friends who I will not be thinking of, who I will think are gone because I cannot see them, and because I cannot see them I will have no memory of being seen. I will be sure I was not. Events can go unnoticed; we look in so many directions at once—the entire car crash seen by only one. Others see fragments: a body rolling up a windshield; the windshield shattering; belongings flying; broken bones. Did you see the? And when she? Where did the? But beneath the surface of events, there lurks something less able to be shaped into narrative. That others might have seen me and Paul kiss—this matters less to me than the possibility that the language of my body had constituted an event. For how can that be spoken of? Even if seen, how could the others say, Did you see when? Do you think he? Can you believe they?
About the Writer
Naomi Washer's essays, poems, fictions, dance films, and translations can be found in Blue Mesa Review, Apricity Press, TYPO, Essay Daily, St. Petersburg Review, Poor Claudia, and other places, including a jewelry collaboration with Salt Circle Metals. She holds an MFA in Nonfiction from Columbia College Chicago and is the Editor-in-Chief of Ghost Proposal. She also exists here.