i am holding hands with a girl at a pet store.
i love how her voice changes for each of the animals, high and breathy for the calicos, round and bubbly for the angelfish, sonorous and slithery for the python. she loves them all, even the great hairy tarantulas that scare me beyond my age.
i am holding hands with this girl who’s halo of hair glows banana yellow beneath the heat lamps in the reptile section, a girl who offers a finger to the teething kittens.
“can’t we have one?” she asks, in the voice she uses only for me.
a voice i can’t describe without using her name, the kind of voice that makes all of time and space obsolete, oblivion just aftermath. i imagine joan of arc heard something similar the first time she picked up a sword.
she is still holding my hand, and i feel like im drowning in my affection for her, sinking into cartoon quicksand. i don’t want to let go. so i don’t.
“are you two...together?”
this is not unfamiliar, but the womans voice, the voice she has chosen, is strangely acdic. this woman has laced her tone with arsenic, without even a teaspoon of passive aggressive sugar to hide her poison. she inhaled, puffing herself up like a frightened lizard before her final words.
“there are children here, you know.”
in the future, i think of a thousand things to say. we are children too.
two girls holding hands after school, two girls holding hands in the movie theatre, two girls in a booth at tony’s pizza, two girls sharing akward first kisses while they hide behind the wall of a library.
two girls holding hands in a pet store on a saturday afternoon.
i know now they see us through funhouse mirrors: distorted, disturbed, our monstrous bodies taking up too much space, spoiling innocent spaces with our imposing sexualities.
our innocence never ours to begin with.