I don’t know how I ended up in the garden. Marnie was there with me. Of course she was. But it might have also been Monique. Either way, it really wouldn’t make much of a difference because I love both of them to bits, one more than the other. I’m not even sure if it’s healthy to like other people as much as I love them, because, you know, they’re other people and you never know if something unexpected happens and you end up getting hurt.
I remember we laughed a lot. Marnie had said something really stupid. Something like “have you ever thought about what it would feel like to be swallowed by a gigantic whale?” The thing is, in a way, I have actually done that. But that was a long time ago, when I was still little and my Mum got pretty worried because I got all sorts of weird dreams all the time. I didn’t tell her though, because I was laughing so hard, which, in the end, made her laugh harder, which made me laugh harder… You probably know how that goes, so I don’t have to tell you.
Anyway, at some point I think we started to stare up at the sky. The stars looked really beautiful. I remember thinking about the whale again, being swallowed and all that, because in that moment I really wouldn’t have minded to mingle with the stars and become one with the incredible idea of infinity.
The next thing I remember is lying on the grass that felt wonderfully soft and not exactly wet but just cold enough to still be comfortable. We could hear the low hum of music that was still coming from the house. I wondered if people were looking for us, and I liked the idea of maybe seeing their silhouettes and faces in the cone of light on the front porch, their gaze wandering over the quiet lawn while we were out there, hiding in the grass. I might have told Marnie about this, because I remember her girly giggle filling the air between us, clear and melodic and heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
“Do you ever wonder what happens when we grow up?” I asked her after a short silence.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, when we grow up. When we get older. What do you think will happen?”
She thought about that for a moment. “I don’t know. We’ll just grow up and get older, I guess. Or maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll stay young like this forever.” I could hear the smile in her voice.
“I’m serious,” I said even though I was already laughing again. “You can’t stay young like this forever. Eventually, we’ll have to grow up. Rory says–“
“You’re overthinking it again. You’re always overthinking everything.”
I turned on my side then and stared at her, admiringly and fascinated. “You never worry about the future?”
“Why would I worry about the future?”
“I don’t know. Maybe because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And maybe that scares you.”
“It doesn’t.” A satisfied smile spread across her face. “It shouldn’t worry you either. Are you worried now?” She turned to look at me.
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “Maybe a little.”
“What are you worried about? Stop worrying,” she teased and nudged me in the side.
“You’re right. I probably should, shouldn’t I.”
“You should. And you should stop listening to what Rory says. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“Well, do you?”
“Do I what?”
“Do you know what you’re talking about?”
“Of course I do. I know everything. I’m like the oracle of Deli.”
In a very unladylike fashion, I burst out laughing. “Marnie, but it’s in Delphi.”
“Yeah, whatever.” She gave me my favourite goofy smile. “I’m like that. That’s what I am.”
“You’re crazy.” I admired her.
“Of course I’m crazy. But you know that I am right. And this–,” she held up one of the apples that were lying all around the garden. “This is a beautiful apple.”
I snickered. “It is a very beautiful apple.”
“It might as well be the most beautiful apple, don’t you think?” she added, and I prompted: “You’re the most beautiful apple.” And we both laughed.
“Well, you’re the apple of my eye, how about that?” I smiled at her before we rolled on our backs again, our hands entwined in our middle, and we looked up at the sky and everything was exactly as it was supposed to be.