The Fence Between My Fingers

I peer between the fractured fingers of the old paling fence, the common connection of our backyards. The weathered wood splays out with lichen fingernails and mossy knuckles.

Putting my foot on the bottom rail I push up. I can just loop my fingers over the top and my lips move closer to the splintered wood, riddled with deepening cracks of age and ants in their travels. I hear it creak as it takes my added weight. The fence bears it like I’m in my father’s arms, leaning against the strain.

I imagine your hair smells like the jasmine and the wisteria crowning the fence; tangled threads and strands of green shot through with sprigs of white flowers and clusters of purple reminding me of grapes.

I peer into your backyard catching slatted snippets of sight. Squinting one eye I can see the clothesline turning slowly in the breeze. And I wonder which t-shirt belongs to you; there is a new one on the line I don’t recognise. Maybe you have some new undies too. Mum bought me Superman undies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ones.

There’s your bike leaning against the house. And you’re riding without training wheels now.

The fence is biting into my fingers and I let go, dropping back to the grass. But I look through the slatted wall again, my nose pressed into the fence. Your back door opens and I run back to mine afraid you might see me.

I wonder if you sometimes look into my backyard.

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13 responses to “The Fence Between My Fingers

  1. Ninja turtle days

  2. Haha, that is SO true!

  3. This is sweet.
    At first, I thought it was a grown-up’s POV. It took a moment for me to reconcile “fractured fingers of old paling fence” with superhero undies, The last line though, that brought the whole story home for me.

  4. Aw, this was a really sweet story, Adam.

  5. The language, particularly imagining jasmine on someone’s hair, made me think we were dealing with an adult and maybe a pedophile, until we hit Mum buying Superman undies. That was a sharp turn because the language still persisted. Feel a little silly now!

  6. the fence always somehow symbolises a divide, a difference, the grass is always greener, but you brought it back to relationship rather than mere subjective aspiration & dreaming which was nice.

  7. Great, until the mention of the turtles I thought this was an adult narrating. Captures the innocence of childhood ‘girl next door’ times.

  8. Good fingers make good neighbors. Wait, that sounds SO wrong. Really sweet story.

  9. I hope that she DOES peek over the fence and wonder about him. And leave each other notes tucked between the slats – ah, youth…

  10. Vivid details, and so sweet. I love that he runs away, afraid to be caught. You captured that age well.

  11. This is sweet. I hope he eventually gets her attention. Great job of sprinkling the details as you went, Adam. I enjoyed the gradual reveal very much.

  12. The curiosity of children – such a lovely snippet, a little insight into a child’s mind. Nice Adam.

  13. Pingback: » The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 5 Number 3

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