I bit into the damp peach, letting the juice drip down onto my fingers. He watched me eat from my old bed – big enough to fit only one of us at a time. Still, we piled on top of it like children; all elbows and knees, sleeping fitfully. When I finished, I lined the pit up on my windowsill to dry in the sun. It was still sticky to the touch.

“I love that,” he told me.


“When you do that – with the pits. You do the same thing every time.”

I wiped my hands against my jeans, not bothering to wash them. The residue remained, kept skin kissing skin where it touched. I looked down at the five pits and then smiled at him. Sometimes it still surprised me how much he noticed. Maybe it shouldn’t have. Not after all that time, but it did.

“Yeah. I guess I do,” I admitted. “Are you going to ask me why?”

I stood up in front of him, hands on my hips, teasing. I couldn’t get enough of him here – in my space – taking up the air with his lungs, leaving me just shy of breathless. Everything lit up around him. I wonder if he knew.

“No,” he said.

He pulled me down by the front of my shirt until we were kissing. I was not used to being taller than him – it made our noses bump one another, and he laughed against my lips in a way that made me smile. His hand cupped my jaw, larger than anything, but still so tender. And my whole body ached.

Of course he knew why I did it. I shouldn’t be surprised. Not after all this time – but I was. He knew that I didn’t mind the hard things – that I grew to want them. That in all this sweet, I needed to know there was still a spine. That in all this soft, I needed to know there was still my fist, if it came down to it. I loved him then, so desperately, when both our mouths tasted of ripe peach.


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