He gave me daisies. We were sitting in his car, me fingering the money in my pocket, my putative
income, a welcome whiff of independence, a door to adulthood
. I was nervous, on the brink of a hatching
I was not taught to prepare for, restive
, embarrassed. My body bloomed all round me like a frangrant vegetative being
with a will of its own, uncontrollably spreading in a myriad
steep and slippery directions.
It was getting dark and he was giving me daisies. I said thank you, I will give them to mom. No, he said, they are for you. The tousled flowers looked sad and menacing in the powdery blue light of dusk, shedding yellow pollen all over my hands and making me want to sneeze. Back then I didn't know this was how flowers had sex.
I said thank you again. He said, we're leaving for Canada soon, this will probably be the last time you babysit for us. I said yes, have a good trip. Instead of going out of my mouth and into his ears, I saw my words travel in slow motion across the width of the car, meeting his advancing form half way, shattering and morphing around his outstreched fingers, helplessly fading away as the light was blocked out by his approaching, growing, monstrously inflating head.
His fingers were cold on my neck, a fingertip behind each ear, why doesn't he take me by the shoulders, and then lips, wet, cold, pressing, sliding with a trail like a slug's. I kept my eyes open and stared at him, cold, unforgiving, knowing exactly what was going on. He finally let go and looked away with a smile like a rictus but I wasn't saving him, I wasn't helping, I knew what he had done, I knew he wasn't allowed but there was nothing I could have done was there I was just a little girl and I took my hand out of my pocket and wiped my mouth and didn't feel the money any more. My ears were burning and my vision was blurred.
I had wanted to turn my head and get a peck on the cheek, but his soft, cold, silky hands held me fast and I got my first kiss, an uninvited initiation, a chilly prelude to the future. And daisies.