We are touched before the light comes on (in the dark, fumbling with the laces). The light flicks on only later, when He needs to looks for his keys.

The linoleum floor is cool this time of night, even in summer. A turtle could nap on it.

Down the patio stairs we go, wincing with the report of hard rubber on wood. The patio steps are wet, still, from yesterday’s rain, and so they smell thickly of the forest they used to inhabit. We smell like nothing.

Left stumbles on the last step. Right catches him in the grass. We’re all right, aren’t we? Here we go.

We continue through the tickling dewy grass into the woods. The crickets and cicadas are singing a reverberating duet (summer, summer, summer, they sing).

Left asks: where are we going? Right never asks. But Left does ask and Right says: hush hush hush, and it sounds like a summer breeze or just shoelaces brushing along the grass and coming undone.

After a little ways, the grass turns to dirt and pine needles and then eventually to asphalt again. He is headed down the road to the lake.

Along the way, we kick stray pebbles so they rattle at a decibel only we can feel, like a baby’s maraca against our soles.

Left laughs. He’s enjoying this.

Right tells him to concentrate. She’s concerned we’ll fall again.

Sure enough, Left stumbles, and Right has to catch us again. We’re all right. We’re all right.

The road turns to gravel, and the pebbles are no longer fun, they’re everywhere and interrupting. The bad little rocks dig in sensitive places and try to trip us unaware; some stow away for a few steps in our grooves, too intimate, but we’ll need Him to pick them out unless we can get a good stamp! on smooth asphalt.

He reaches the lake, and we’re the first things shed: Left, then Right. Right tries to cling to him, concerned. He has to sit down to untie her laces.

We’re left out of step and chaotic in the grass. Clothes follow.

He is going skinny dipping.

We don’t look out of modesty, though Left probably just says that but actually does. Right is lying comfortable again in the moist bed of healthy grass; she’s on her side with her laces all sprawled in calligraphic loops. A firefly alights on her toe, tentatively first, then tenderly.

It flickers and then travels to Left, carrying a kiss.

It returns.

Let’s be forgotten here, shall we? Left sighs happily.

We’ll ruin, says Right. Grow moss and dandelions and little mushrooms on our tongues and inside ourselves. Get nibbled on by field mice and dissolved into shadow by a slow rain.

That doesn’t sound like ruin, says Left.

We won’t be cared for, says Right.

The birds and the butterflies will care for us! says Left. Do you enjoy being kept in that dark little closet reserved only for occasions when He needs something to slip on quickly?

We’re comfortable, says Right. At least we’re needed.

I don’t agree, says Left.

But we wait anyhow for His return, mostly because it is not in our nature to do otherwise.

He returns, and begins to dress.

So long, firefly, calls Left.

So long, sweet grass, whispers Right.

We’re moving back again toward the gravel and the road and the house and the front closet. All this before us, approaching quickly like a slide, and time is water flowing through it.

####

K.G. Kitasei writes in the wee hours of the night in Brooklyn by fluorescent light of the Chinese takeout place across the street. She occasionally drops a line on Twitter @N0rth3y.

Photo by Lokilech (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALudwigswinkel_Libelle_auf_Schuh.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.