‘When will you be ready?’ he asked.
‘When I forget to put on mascara,’ she said.
And the seasons get shorter, the years quicker, nobody gets older but us, our generation. Our parents grow wrinkles, our little sisters and brothers grow breasts and beards, but really, really they’re exactly the same age as they always were. These changes are happening more and more quickly but only we are getting older. Two years ago rock concerts and giggling invisible plans flowed in our veins and now everyone’s getting married and pregnant but still five years old, eating Cheerios and listening to Raffi with crayons. What do you want to be when you grow up? An archeologist! Because I love dinosaurs and digging up bones! Land before time. Now you can drive and smoke and drink. But no, I want to swing! And then you take yourself shopping and discover with surprise that you’re actually wearing those cool clothes that you spent all those years without, thinking that you were the unluckiest person alive. You know that you really are grown-up because you don’t even care anymore. But then you see one of the cool kids and you’re right back in the cafeteria, wondering which table will let you sit with them.
‘I dreamt about you last night.’
‘You were a lake. I swam around for hours.
Funny how that’s only minutes in awake-time, huh?’
‘Dude, think of all the lifetimes you’d live if you were in a coma.’
‘My uncle was in a coma for a while.’
‘Dude, what am I supposed to say to that? Sorry! Did he ever come out?’
‘Actually, I’m just kidding.’
‘Yeah?’ He chuckled, and turned to look, really look, at her.
‘But if I did have an uncle, wherever he is out there, I think I’d know how he’d feel. Like being awake but asleep all the time, not really being able to move…’ She stopped, embarrassed, and looked away, down into the valley.
The silence rose like the golden morning sun before them, fire without the heat over the mountaintops, shedding that sheen over the trees and river, rocks and path. You could never see the world the same way again, not after a sunrise like that.
‘I think I’m in love with you.’
She breathed out and let the minutes build, silent and grave and laughing.
‘Was I a cold lake?’
He smiled. ‘No, you were perfect.’