They stopped and ate. Snow fell whisperingly, and they sat beneath
a pine and ate sandwiches and drank coconut water and ate cookies
Annie had made. Soon there was a layer of snow on the ground, two
inches. Then the white lay on the trees like a mother’s quilt. Blake lay
back, his head propped on a rock, and he kept his eyes closed, envisioning. He always liked to see the climb or see the jump before he did it.
Nothing could get fucked up if he made his mind like his body, he said.
His eyes moved behind closed eyelids. Ian tossed his sandwich crusts
away, and they sat stark brown on top of the layer of snow. Kieran saw
their footprints that walked up behind them and ended where they were
sitting, overlapping one another.
What’d you have to promise to get her to give us these? Blake said
about the cookies. He was sitting up again, munching. Jesus titties, these
She is the devil’s baker, and he has promised her his firstborn child,
who she is currently indoctrinating in the ways of baking.
She hates baking, Kieran said.
Oh, god, the promises: him promising her some type of life, some
incomprehensible life, some child and garden, and a house with tatami
mats and bamboo carpet and a battery-powered car, certainly that car,
and cutting each other’s hair and giving it to the cancer kids altruistically but showing off the bags of hair, posting the pics, the hair pics,
them both bald a month, posting the bald pics, the pics of the kids who
would get the hair, endless pics of their own kid, Maddie, kid pics, kid
pics, in the water, there’s our daughter, in the sand, Maddie holding
our hand, sleeping, eating, vomiting, crying, smiling, walking, talking,
laughing, all over that kid everywhere, her own little reality TV-life. The
promises coming out of him like a waterfall: when had he really ever
wanted a garden? It was not possible to know now, and he was certain
he’d never wanted a child but was also certain he knew she did, so he’d
promised and promised, knew that the first years were going to be their
free years and then he’d have to give up some things, he said he’d be
willing, certainly, to give up some things, not so many risks, not with a
child, not so many jumps or climbs or treks fifty miles in freezing temps
just because, just because, not with a child, there were no just becauses
with a child because there couldn’t be. Even in their idea of the kid’s
freeness, how there wouldn’t be rules, they wouldn’t be authoritarians,
wouldn’t force the kid to sleep or tell it when to eat, that they would do