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Hunched herself over with neverending fiddling hands. Most of the pieces are in front of her, but still. There’s a way to the sky, yet. Ideas can come too fast if you aren’t listening, but the leaves let fall hung in the air a bit too long and now she’s got her fingertips stuck with sap, the seal of a bladder creased down. It has to be big. Just how much would carry her? The little balloon she filled is trapped underneath the worn fishing net and sometimes doesn’t give her much hope to see it put up such a little fight. It wears the net more like a blanket than an itchy sweater. For today that’s enough. Her arms don’t like the pressing. She sleeps on the wind to come.

The fly buzzes as if he’s unheard. He knows his silence talks too much. There’s a word for it he can’t think of. She’s back to work by lanternlight, just too powerful to stay away. By the edge of where that pre-dawn sun’s breath can reach he inches forward. Her hand dips into the bowl of sap, then slides along the stretched insides. There’s a scale to it all he hadn’t been witness to. His buzzing, in all his carefulness, has gotten her attention. She waves him in, he thinks, but he can’t be sure. That word he can’t remember gets a little bit further away from him. She yells in the face of courtesy. He has legs willing to run and arms of his own that can do some of the carrying. That’s how the easy arrangements were made. Until midday his buzzing was replaced with dusty clomps by the bucketfull. Always that same bucket. He wonders if she’s moved, her neck arched like the wilting flower. There’s still vigor there, he knows.

The word has come back to him as that sun settles again. He’s traded in his buzzing wings for a hand that can reach out. With the lantern nearly burned out, she can’t help but right her neck, that offer so politely accepted. When her footing is firmed their shoulders bump. There’s a fit of the unexplained. She runs to the fishing net. Lifting it she makes careful to hold her initiation of the thought she won’t dare mention. She has to walk it over to him, near an edge she hadn’t taken the time lately to notice. His face, mostly hidden by the dark filled in the spaces left behind by the sun, can’t hide the eyebrows when they’re raised. She must grab his hand and place it over the floating ball to show him. He finds the word again.

Out underneath them swayed the lagoon they learned to swim in. Under warm light the lagoon offered the cool. From this high he could see it. He wanted something to offer back. Both of their hands on the ball, she nudges him in the shoulder where they’d first met. Over that lagoon above the water offered him a place where his feet could go untouched. That little balloon slipped away and in that fading light there was no way to know she was smiling.


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