At 17 I am told, for the first time, that I have large lips; then, that there is a deer’s skull in the front yard. It is July and sweat collects skin across my back, viciously, like a wolf with a mouth full of fur.
Tommy’s body stretches tall and lanky as Father’s fishing rod. His forehead is long, hair dirty and tangled as a stormy lake.
I am surprised and disappointed when he delivers these two bits of news to me and then does not kiss me, even though I have no pinpointed reason for me to feel either emotion.
That day the sky boils over with grey clouds, all dark as the dress of the old crippled woman down the street, the one everybody strongly believes is a witch.
Tommy does not kiss me, but he does offer me his hand, then suggests we look for more deer, ones that are alive.
Every July us children of the neighborhood wander the paved streets barefoot and bare-legged, our thighs and shins ridden with bloody scabs, from scratching too much at mosquito bites. This day is no different.
This summer I have tried not to scratch as much at my mosquito bites — I don’t want to call so much attention to my thighs, which won’t stop growing — but I have failed. Scabs line my legs like the thumbs of a strange man.
The forrest is significantly darker and only slightly cooler than the rest of the world. There are kernels of stretched out light everywhere, and moss, and only one deer — dead, though.
Tommy cries when he sees the carcass, and when he does it is the first time that I am okay with watching somebody cry. Or, I do not feel like I should leave.
I don’t do much when he cries, other than touch his shoulder, but this seems to be enough.