By Robyn Butler
I followed her down the path through the gums and scrub, waiting at the bends until I was sure she was past the next. With each footfall, I avoided bark that might crunch, sticks that may crack.
I’d done it that way since the first day when I’d come across her clothes piled on the riverbank, shoes placed neatly side by side. She was floating on her back, her skin white against the muddy water. Her breasts were the first I had ever seen; the pile of hair near the parting of her legs. Her toes pointed to the sky painted pink. She became the girl of my wet dreams, of inconvenient times, where my pants jutted in church, or on the school bus. Like that one time during Physical Education at the pool when Mr. Baxter threw a towel at me, saying, “Here,” with a degree of compassion I’d never experienced from a teacher before, as my mates’ faces blossomed red in their solidarity, and the girls giggled.