Us girls skip school and ride our bikes to the terminal, suck back cigarettes on the sunburned grass until the ferry arrives and we board to see our boys. We wear short floral dresses and black biker boots, our lips stained the colour of cherries, our eyelids a smoky gray. We sit knee to knee on the upper deck and talk about leaving for good one day. We check each other’s teeth for lipstick. We braid slim strands of each other’s hair.
Our boys wait for us on shore in their rugby shirts and cargo shorts. Their smiles are fresh, private school teeth, their necks long and dotted with familiar cologne. We hug a little too long, slip a little too much tongue, try to feign like we don’t care, but we laugh when our boys chase us up the hill on their bikes, as they swat at our asses when they get close.
Our boys’ backpacks are stuffed with booze and blankets and snacks pulled from the shelves of their well-stocked school cafeteria. We drink through the afternoon in the gravel pit, the rock chips warm and sharp underneath our skin. Us girls tell stories about keying cars and stealing stuff and fist fights, like we’re something straight out of skidsville, and our boys laugh like they know what we're talking about. Like they’ve experienced our day-to-day.
Our boys pull us into different pockets of the pit once the booze has taken hold and dusk has leaked across the sky. They lay blankets down on the forested edge, fumble with their buckles, mumble meaningless words into our ears. They use moves they’ve practiced in their dorm rooms, moves they’ve tried in the dark with girls from their school. But those girls aren’t like us. They aren’t screwing our boys because they have to. Because they need something better.
Us girls stare at the stars and go through the motions, jerking our bodies to match our boys’ rhythm, echoing their groans and their growls. We grin at them when it’s over, reassure them it was good. It was great. That we haven’t been doing this for years across the water with guys twice their age and twice their size.
Us girls let our boys bike us back to the terminal, let them hold our hands while we watch the twinkling lights from the ferry move closer. They stand at the edge of the dock and wave goodbye, and we laugh at the lust plastered over their faces, even though it's that look we'll come back for again and again. We sit with the cars on the crossing this time, lean against their hot, rubbery tires, and inhale the smell of exhaust that's stuck on the deck. We lick our thumbs and rub at the spots of blood on our knees, at the smudges of dirt on our arms. Then we close our eyes and hold tight to the time before we get back home.
Song: The Twist by Metric
Art by Nour Tahomy
Nour Tahomy is a Sydney based freelance artist. Her work can be described as an exploration of human vulnerability through conceptualism and the feminine. Inspiration varies from nature to poetry, Sufism and her travels around the world. Instagram @sparksflyidraw
Jennifer Todhunter's stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Necessary Fiction, CHEAP POP, and elsewhere. She is the managing editor of Pidgeonholes. You can find her at www.foxbane.ca or @JenTod_.