I barely heard her until she was just a few steps behind me. I had been sitting at the edge of the silo, my feet dangling over the lengthening shadows of the treetops below. She slipped down behind me, wrapped her arms around my waist, and put her head on my shoulder.
“What’s up?” she whispered.
I closed my eyes, wondering if she could feel my heart racing.
“Not much, I guess.”
I felt her breathe deeply, momentarily squeezing me tighter. There was something insistent about the way she held me.
“You couldn’t have known that would happen, you know. It’s not your fault.”
I wrinkled my nose, pushing back the mental image of Jay being swept away like that – instantly erased. It seemed so deliberate, so intentional. In my mind I knew she was right – had to be right – but I couldn’t seem to escape the tyranny of memory.
“I know, Amy” I answered.
She breathed deeply again, her body pressing against my back and squeezing me tighter still. The smell of her hair swirled around me. I didn’t know then that it’d be the last time she’d touch me, that after tonight, I’d never see her again.
“You’re a funny guy, Adrian. You carry the weight of the whole world around on your shoulders, but at the same time you try to shrink into nothingness, hide from sight. You rail against yourself. But in the playground, you put down the weight and took up the space you were meant to.”
I watched the sky deepen through orange to red, then eventually to black. Stars twinkled into existence in the sky. Understanding settled as slowly in my mind as the dew on my skin. Amy was going away.
“Yeah. I did, I felt whole.”
She stood up, and skipped over to the ladder, like she always did. By the time I had turned around to watch, only her smiling, knowing face was visible.
“But the frogs. That was a good touch. Poetic.”
And with that she was gone.
I sat alone at the edge. I breathed deeply, and with each breath felt myself fill the emptiness of the room atop the silo. I took up space, something I’d never stop doing now. Even though I knew I’d never see Amy again, but I felt okay about it. I didn’t feel alone. I knew she’d always be there, inside me, beside me. She was the other fish of my pisces, and it was time for her to swim in the opposite direction.
And she was right about the frogs. They had been a good touch.