They swam together, out under the crystal sunspots. They shimmied through, taking long, slow strokes with their arms. They turned on their backs and kicked their legs, floating complacently under the sky. They treaded water and faced each other, so close it made Rose blush.
“I knew you had it in you,” Heather said.
Rose smiled at her and then quickly ran her hand across the water, splashing it up in Heather’s face and taking her by surprise. Heather chased her, stark naked, out onto the ground and up to the grassy meadow.
Rose had grabbed her clothes on the way, and she put them on as fast as she could. What if one of the children were to come, she thought.
Dalton crept down the steep hill to the waterhole and watched his mother swim. He’d never seen her like that, like she was having fun, so much fun she was screaming laughter, like his belly laughs when he’s tickled.
He wondered who the woman was that she was having so much fun with. She looked good naked. He didn’t look at his mother, but he sure did look at the other one. If his mother wasn’t there with her girlfriend, he knew he’d have some strange desires, like the ones he’d had the other night when he’d pulled on his penis and it made him feel so good. He put his hand there, sure would be nice to do it again.
But then, all of a sudden, they were screaming and running out of the hole. He watched them scurry up the hill stark naked. His mother grabbed her clothes. He didn’t want to see her naked, it just didn’t seem right, but that other one…He was real disappointed when she pulled her top on and slipped into her underwear.
The breeze was blowing Heather’s hair. It was straight hair, and it moved in the wind easily. She kept brushing it back with her hand. The sun was drying them quickly. They had walked up to the top of the hill where the flowers were vividly hued.
“Oh, I’d love to bring Rusty up here.”
Rose was a bit taken aback. So Heather had a boyfriend she’d never mentioned?
“My backyard is small so he doesn’t get an opportunity to run much. He needs the exercise.”
“Oh, for a minute I thought you had a boyfriend named Rusty. You’re talking about a dog?”
“Yes, Rusty is my dog, my golden retriever.”
“I’ll take you up here any time so you can let him run, it would be good for Sadie too.”
Heather turned to her and smiled. “That would be nice, Rose, really nice.”
Rose looked out toward the wild flowers, some tipped in the wind, like a dance. The day was going too fast. Whatever she was feeling it was making her lightheaded.
“Want to sit for a while?” she asked.
“Sure.” Heather plopped down where she was standing. She lay back and put her hands behind her head. She closed her eyes.
Rose sat and stared at her. Heather must have felt it because she opened her eyes and squinted back at Rose. Rose noticed her mouth; her own impulses ran like static electricity through her skin.
“I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun.” Rose smiled. She felt like she’d been missing something she’d never known before that day. But then Heather came along and made her feel it, made her aware of it, this thing she’d been missing.
Heather didn’t say anything when she sat up and stared out over the meadow.
“I think this feeling is going to stay with me till I see you again,” Rose said.
“What feeling?” Heather asked.
Rose looked off. Heather remained silent, and the silence was deafening. Rose felt the warmth in her stomach like a fist was in there churning at her.
“The feeling you’re going to leave me with,” she said. “Like something is missing and won’t be found again until I see you.”
Heather looked confused. Rose said nothing more.
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