XXXI | Hesitate

The wind throws a tantrum.

The world is oblivious.

Orange rowan leaves
are buffeted like messy



The sky darkens
—but that’s probably because it’s 7pm.

The clouds
are still in the sky,

ignorant of the wind.

Even the grass
is unaffected.

Only Rowan’s pony
thrashing to and fro,

her skirt
protests against her hand.

I can hear it

raging all around me
like surround-sound

but I can’t feel it.

The world is still.

Rowan leaves are pulled off the branches,

swirling around in an orange shower.

They seem to be spurred by the wind,
but they’re flying in every direction.

I cover my ears,

trying to shut out
the phantom

blowing air into my ear.

‘What’s going on?’

Rowan steps closer
to the tree

and turns to look at me.

Strands of black hair
free themselves from her ponytail

and obscure her face.

She stares at me,

‘Where are we going?
‘Can’t I go home first.

‘I don’t want to wear this stupid uniform.’


Rowan holds out her hand,

the first




reached out

to touch


I hesitate.

The wind stops.
The leaves fall all at once.

Rowan’s clothes settle.

It’s quiet.
The tantrum is over.
The sun has set.

But the street lights
don’t come on
like they’re supposed to.

The sound of a bell.
An announcement about the school gates closing.

It’s already so late.

Have we
really been staring at each other
without speaking
for so long?

Now’s my chance, I think.

Aspen is not around.
I don’t see Eeyore.

It’s just Rowan and me.

So then
are my feet
to the ground?

are my hands
my side?

I move my little finger.
Nothing’s frozen.

I haven’t turned
into a pillar of salt.

‘aren’t you replying me?’

Rowan smiles.

She pulls a leaf from her hair,
drops it on the ground.

It flutters,

settles between stalks of grass.

‘What are you waiting for?’
she asks.

I don’t get it.


I’ve always understood people.

Just by looking at their face,
I can tell

what they’re feeling,
what they’re thinking,
what they want to say.

I just pretend not to know.

But Rowan
is really infuriating.

Sometimes she’s an open book.

(like now)

she isn’t human at all.




‘Once you know the truth,’
Rowan says,

dropping her hand,
holding the strap of her bag instead,

‘You can’t come back.’

I stare at her.

‘Then forget it.’

For a moment, I think she might say,
‘suit yourself’
and disappear from my sight.

She takes a deep breath.

The tips of her ears
are angry red.

But I’m the angry one.

What kind of trip is this?
How frustrating!

‘You decided to go, didn’t you?’

How can her black eyes
stay so emotionless

in front of the person she likes?

I have feelings.

You just don’t understand me.

It sounds like Rowan
but she hasn’t opened her mouth.

I feel lightheaded.


‘If I have to put in effort,
‘then I won’t have a good time.’


She looks away.

I think her shoulders
sag a little.

‘You won’t have a good time.
‘You’ll want to come back.

‘All the time.’

I smirk.

‘Sounds like it’s not worth it after all.’

Her coal-black eyes
burn into me again.

I can even hear the crackling sound.

‘I wonder if it’s better

‘Not to know see so many things.

‘To stay at home
‘And be bored.

‘You think the truth will be easy to accept,
it’ll all fall into place without a struggle.

‘But that’s not how it is.

‘The truth

‘will make you



The rowan leaves
start to fall again,


because Rowan
isn’t the kind of girl
to cry.


I don’t really know that.

I haven’t tried
making her cry yet.

Why am I thinking about the tree?

‘You can live your whole life believing a lie,
‘but you won’t be able to die believing it.’

‘By then,
‘it might be too late.

‘for you to figure it out

‘or try to understand it.’

I step towards her.

There’s a light in her eyes.
Some kind of passion.

‘Even if the truth is hard,
‘I want to know it,
‘do my best to live with it,

‘no matter what other people say.’

‘Why?’ I ask.

The gap between us
slowly closes.

Rowan holds out her hand again.

‘Because the truth changes everything.’

This time I take it.

Her hand
is trembling.




error: Content is protected!!