Her hair - red in the sunlight. Bending over - her hands in the earth. We didn’t wear gardening gloves. We kept our nails short & free from catching things. Could we be so free? I ploughed the earth and she slipped the seeds into its folds. Her little hands always did the delicate tasks. Her little stitches running along my seams. In the evenings I would try to take some of the fragility. Lightly running callouses over her skin. I could smell her. I could taste her. She was mine for a moment.
We spent all day together, not talking much. My mind always wondering which worlds hers took her to, instead of creating my own. I wanted to know; her quiet smile - her guarded laugh. Was she thinking of me: her simple guardian? Was she thinking of me: her powerful brute? I was young, words still catching on insecurities in my throat. The sun had already begun to set blood red in the sky. I had once held her watching a dusk pink sunset, her birthday and a small eye in years that had gone too fast. She had needed me in a different way.
The seeds we had got two summers ago, when we had petrol, when there was seeds to get. Two years is not long enough for a car to become a shell. It should be. Its tyres were flat, Leaves had built up a moist mattress for it to rest on. We had saved some petrol - but I’d spilled it. The car sat there, gleaming and taunting. I want to remember it rusted, broken. Later on we would lie in it, when there was thunder-storms. Hearing the rain protected. Smelling the musty carpeted seats.
I thought it would take two cycles for us to not need anything outside of this. I thought we could. The cycles have become violent - coloured, textured - with the weight in the air. Longer. The Kale began to grow right through the summer time. We tried to grow the tomatoes inside the car. There were no apples. You got an infection from the stream and I had to burn you. What was coming? What were the others doing? We never asked. We grew quiet with thick air between us. Should we save more?
When the orange tree died she said “We need to go back.”
And it suddenly seemed all along this is how she knew it would go. Back. I didn’t sleep. I looked up at darkness. We had cut ourselves off from suns in the night. Consumed them in gases. I had wanted to save her and for her to be mine. I had wanted to be of this earth. I had wanted to say No. At first we covered up the quiet that had come as a response. She would sing and I would be rough with my tools. We had covered the dark with fires.