Animal Time

Deborah Crooks

It was our last day of the week of no thinking. We swam in the Caribbean all morning, warm water under warm air, and drifted in the currents until we felt hungry. A footpath was worn into the grass along the road to the hotel, where we walked barefoot, stopping to buy ripe mangoes from a vendor selling the fruit from the back of an old green truck. Reggie reached into the bagful of fruit just as we approached the landing to our room. We sat on the stone step, still wearing our bathing suits, eating with our hands, juice running down our bare arms and mixing with our sweat. Nothing ever completely dried. The air was heavy, wet, thick. Magnificent Frigate birds and pristine white tropicbirds circled overhead in looping circles unburdened by speed.

“I’m still hungry,” Reggie murmured, then tossed his pit over the side of the building, licked his fingers clean, grabbed my hand and pulled me inside.

A week later, home, still tender, I’d touch myself and wonder who we were.