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.