The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Written during SBYF Memory Writing program, Feb 2014.  Juanita and her siblings used to run down the hill behind their house, in rural Virginia, carrying metal buckets.  Her grandfather farmed tobacco, peaches, pears, and strawberries.

I'm running down the hill behind my house.  My feet - wrapped in "bobos" as we called them - are straining for the ground but it keeps dropping out beneath me, as if I'm pedaling the air.  I tumble down and splash into the creek.

My sister, Rosa, and my brother, Robert, splash in behind me.  We squint at the glinty surface, trying to spot the minnows.  It's only knee-deep but if you lay down vertically, as I do now, you can float for a few seconds between the land and the air.

I gasp, brush my hair from my eyes.  There's my grandfather atop the hill, leading the beige horse toward the orchard.  It's Saturday, so he'll be having his drink soon, the moonshine from the clear, unmarked bottles.  I know it's my imagination, but I swear I can smell my grandmother's cooking up in the big house: homemade biscuits and fried apples.

I close my eyes and sink down again.  I like this feeling: wrapped in water, light as a bubble.  I feel the current passing over me.

Greetings from the Creek Behind the Big House

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