Preview of Unsaid Six: Circles, by Alexis Almeida

 

A boy and a girl enter a field together. The field is not really a field, but rather an orchard with thousands of fallen pecans strewn at its feet. The boy is not really a boy, but more of a man, though he doesn’t always know it, and the girl is not really a girl, but someone who feels mostly like a woman and sometimes like a ghost.  It is morning, and although they are no longer tired, they lie down on the brittle grass and furl into each other until their bodies make the shape of a nest. There they are quiet for a long time. At times they open their eyes or adjust their legs. The girl’s breath grows hot against his shoulder, and the boy sits up and says something about the color of the sky. I feel elsewhere, she says, letting her voice drop into a murmur while she watches him carve a fissure into a stick. Then the air changes. The morning is not really morning anymore, but rather that absenting hour when the temperature rises and you can no longer ward off the thought of the day. The boy looks at the girl and considers the idea that she is really a woman, or other women, or other men, or a bird among other chirping birds, and that beyond her there are other fields, which are actually orchards, and in some cases groves, and beyond them there are roads that lead to other roads that form circles around the original one and lead him away and this makes him feel more like a man. The girl looks at the boy and considers the fact that he is really a man, and sees just beyond him a pecan tree, and beyond it another, and beneath it hundreds of pecans, and beyond them hundreds more, and she thinks if she stays to count all the pecans, if somehow in the process she doesn’t lose count, both she and the boy will still be in the same field, which is not really a field but an orchard, and that perhaps she will still not find the particular one that she is looking for, and this makes her feel like a ghost. The boy who is not a boy picks up her jacket and they pedal away through the dead tufts of grass. When they come to the curb, she feels the jab of a stick in her pocket, which is not really a stick, but something shaped from a stick, which came from a tree, which came from a field, or an orchard, or a grove, or a boy, who, speeding ahead, looks like a man, but when wedged into her pocket, feels like so many others, like so many other men who have fallen against her life.

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