I’m shaking. My head is full of wasps and I can’t stop shaking.
Muumilaakson Tarinoita. It’s important right now.
Somehow you know I’m shaking even before you come into the room.
“May I watch with you?”
I nod. My vision blurs for a moment as you lay behind me, not touching, but close enough for me to hear your breath.
“You watch it with no English?”
I nod. The corner of my mouth contorts and I know I must be smiling because you do too.
“You understand it?”
I nod. “Usually.”
“Not the words. Just what’s going on.” I feel like I’m swallowing sand. “Some of the words I know. Only a few.”
I hear you smile. We watch.
“You’re shaking…” And your voice is, too.
“I’m afraid.” It’s hard to blink. I’m hypnotized by the screen, surrounded on all sides by memories. You lean over and turn the fan on higher. Your stomach presses into my leg as you lean, and I think I must be dying.
“Is it okay to touch you?”
Your hand gently massages my shoulder and works down my arm, dulling the needles under my skin. A blaze briefly flares up my neck and face, and is gone. “You are full of rivers.” Your hand pushes the gravel out of my muscles and bones. “It’s all blocked up right now.”
You brush my hair, sticky with sweat, out of my eyes. The wind from the fan strokes my cheek like a hand, and I wish it was yours. I’m glad it isn’t.
“Don’t forget your friend.” You press the ragged brown dog into my arms. I unfold as mandibles and take the dog into my chest. It warms my heart like food.
I fall asleep.
I’m shaking again. My stomach is full of butterflies.
The Secret Garden.
The room is dark except for the light of the screen. The others might be able to see us in their peripheral, but they don’t look at us. You and I are sharing a blanket. The torrent outside sounds almost like my fan.
Your breath is on my ear and your words are a secret. “Can I put my arm around you?”
I nod. For a moment I feel like I might faint as your hand presses against my ribs. It is a secret motion, hidden from everyone else as they watch the film. Your breath is on my ear.
“Is this okay?”
For a moment I imagine your hands roaming over me, grasping me, pulling me so gently to pieces. My burning face is hidden but I wonder if you can feel the heat in my heart through my ribs. I nod.
I inch toward you, pressing my back into you, and your arm tightens around me, just so. I hear the falter in your breath, feel your butterflies rumble against my back. For a moment I imagine the sounds you make as I open you up with my tongue. My face burns again.
Your breath is on my neck. I nudge my spine further between your butterflies. Your little finger grasps at the fabric of my shirt, and the rest follow. Our legs are a zipper. Your heart and breath drum music down my spine, all the way down, the rhythm of a song I don’t know yet.
We pretend to watch. Your lips are on my neck, and the rain roars.