The wind picked up handfuls of leaves and tossed them at us. Coloured piles gathering underneath the peeling white bleachers. Luca ran from flower bush to flower bush, disappearing inside the sprawling mass of pink and bees to return with short snapped lavender and daisies. I trudged up the stairs of the grandstand, walking sideways like a behemoth crab, my mountain of a stomach heaving before me. The last time I had stood here in these stands was probably five summers before, the night had been still and warm and we’d snuck out of my friend’s parents’ house to sprawl across the bench seats smoking weed. I didn’t tell them that it was my first time, and held the smoke back in my lungs until my head swilled, restraining any urge to cough. I had been desperate for any kind of out-of-body experience. I dug my hands into my skin-tight black denim and gazed at the stars as thick as sand. William laughed at me and then followed us home, all three of us squeezing under the thick duvet drinking champagne and spooning ice cream straight from the tub until we fell asleep.
I feel the tightening under the tent of my checked dress and notice the stacks of bird shit sitting along the eaves where the night sky would have been. We throw handfuls of windtorn leaves and I try to ignore my body’s impending storm. The afternoon passes in muted shades, sun passing through the slats of the shutters and falling on a sleeping boy’s face, my arms heavy with his weight, cup after cup of bitter raspberry leaf tea, my stomach hardening like a boulder and sending my breath out in silent gasps. I hold myself in the shower and stare at this form both repellent and intriguing, more changed than I thought possible. Violet marks like thunderbolts across my skin, softness and ripples, flesh grown like mushrooms after the rain. The sky breaks open and waters spill out over the floorboards, taking me deep inside myself, as my body is flattened and tossed like a palm tree in a hurricane. Just as swiftly as it started, it’s over, three of us gasping and wildly holding onto one another, where there was only two before. The relief so immediate like the sun parting the velvet black clouds to end an afternoon deluge. Luca climbs in to join us, seemingly unsurprised to meet the purple little person who he just witnessed appearing at the bottom of a pool in a mess of blood and shit and every other fluid. We quiver, jordan holding me, holding luca, holding baby, all so full of this moment drenched in fairy light that stretches on beyond clocks and calendars and human memory.