She wonders if he'll really
be on the sports field waiting
for her, or whether it was just
something he said at the moment


to impress or set her up for a
laugh for the sake of others
who see her as a frump, some
one to laugh at or ridicule. She


eats her school dinner at her
usual pace, trying not to think
too much if he'll be there, waiting,
smiling that smile, that quiff ,


that brushed back hair. Elaine,
having finished her dinner,
having been to the loo, having
washed her hands, brushed her


teeth with her finger, walks on
the field, eyes down, her usual
stance, pretending she's invisible,
stops by the fence and looks around.


Girls in groups sit on the grass,
boys play football, some walk in
pairs. She stands alone, peers out,
looks down, hands in her cardigan


pockets. Thought you'd be here,
John says, his voice soft, like snow,
his hand by the fence where she
stands, disturbs her thoughts.


She looks at him, eyes bright,
looks behind him in case others
see or look, but none does, he's
alone, gazing, his brows dark,


fine lined. Didn’t think you
meant it, she says, to meet me,
I mean. Sure, I did, he  says,
not one to say what I don't mean.


She looks at him shyly, words
stuck in her throat, her heart
thumping, her knees shaking,
her stomach churning, feeling


undone. Want to go for a walk?
he says, don't need to stay by
the fence all the time. She moves;
her legs reluctant, her feet uncertain


of their tread. He moves beside her,
his hand brushing hers, confidently,
gazing at her sidewards. She thinks
others are watching, whispering,


gossiping, laughing behind their hands,
pointing at her, the frump, some boy
playing her along. Thought you'd
chickened out, he says, some girls do,


all talk, but then when their friends
aren't about they fall away or don't show.
She pauses, looks around, eyes the girls
across the way, none looks or cares,


no funny looks or stupid stares. I’m
a slow eater, she says, nearly last to
finish, at lunch, she says, gazing at him,
trying to see if he's having a laugh or


this is for real. No rush, he says, glad
you came. He walks on, she moves
beside him, sorting out words to say,
thoughts confused, brain spinning, her


heart thumping against her bra and tit.
You like butterflies? he asks. She mouths
words, her tongue stuck to the roof of
her mouth. She unsticks it, yes, I suppose


so, she says, like the red and white ones,
I see in the garden. Red Admiral I guess
or maybe the Peacock, he says, hard to
say unless I see it. They reach the fence


at the end of the field, stand looking back
at the field and school. You did mean to
meet me didn't you? she says hesitantly.
Of course I, he says, wouldn’t have asked


you otherwise. Others might have set it up,
she says looking at her shoes. Set what up?
he asks. You meeting me for a laugh, to
make me look a fool? she says, noticing


the scuff marks on the toes. No set up,
just me and you, the field, the sun, the sky,
this moment, he says, lifting her chin
with his finger. She stares at him, her


eyes focusing through her glasses, taking
him in, the hair, the hazel eyes, his finger
touching her chin. She wants to look inside
his head, to feel his thoughts, to sense his


wishes, I'm not very confident, she says,
I feel such a frump. He smiles, removes his
finger from her chin, draws her nearer to him,
taking her elbow, kisses her lips, so soft it


hardly touches, brushes skin, warms, thrills,
shocks and warms again, she feels as if she
might wet or leak, as if her stomach may burst,
her heart rush through breasts in a wild rush.


He hold his lips there, skin on skin, barely
pressing, moments still, moving. He pulls
away, not an expert on this kissing stuff,
he says, moving away, taking stock, studying


her eyes for fear or love or shock. Never
been kissed or kissed before, she says softly,
hardly audible, voice choked, sensing her
heart racing, her groin on fire. A bell rings


from the school, the crowds on the field
disperse and walk school wards, drift away,
in groups or singly or pairs. No one looks
or wonders why or stares. Best go, I guess ,


he says, and he's gone, well ahead, half a run,
half a fast walk. She feels her world unpinning,
coming undone, the seams of being coming apart,
revealing a symbolic arrow in a bleeding heart.


View dadio's Full Portfolio