The Girl in the Tree, Chapter 13

The sun was on its way home from zenith and probably thinking about all the things it would do after it set the night as Annie shuffled through the contents of her cigarette and attempted to compile her father’s poetry so that she might send it in to one of the many publishers she’d found in the book, those that looked like they might be the types to take a chance on an unknown poet from small town, America. She had originally lined up neatly some paper and a pencil, making a little graph as to whom she would put the most effort into submitting to, based on something in her head that said “Oh, this one’s more likely than that,� though all she had really was a name, number and brief description of the agencies. It didn’t take her long, however, to drift into simply reading through all of the poems instead of trying to objectively look at which were better or attempt to see them for how the rest of the population might. She realized after about an hour that she was getting nowhere, and so if she was getting nowhere, she might as well do it out in the back yard.

Summer was hinting around that it might be showing up early. The Solstice was still a few days away, but the mood was right and the Maple tree’s limbs were waving just in case that big old season were to come around the corner unexpectedly. Annie wedged her teeth down around the black binding of the book and writhed her arms all up and through the necessary crevices, cracks, nooks, crannies, turns, twists and tactical maneuvers necessary to find herself completely comfortable and easy of mind. Before she knew it, the book had opened itself, climbed down out of her mouth and sucked her right inside of its words. She’d gotten through about three poems before she nodded off, so content in the joy of the moment. So content.

The Long Haired Man opened his eyes after having had closed them to appreciate the zesty full aroma of a fresh and finely brewed cup of coffee. As his eyes opened, so did Annie emerge from her dream, once again looking out through the two way mirror of his eyes. It took her a moment, perhaps the Long Haired Man’s eyes weren’t focusing, or perhaps Annie just couldn’t focus through them yet, but at first everything was just a swirling blur, spinning around the whole room so that she could see in front of her and behind her and everything. One by one objects began to stop and stay still in place. A calendar with a big red X drawn and then circled over a certain date. The refrigerator kicked in its full hum when it ceased spinning, the stove following after and a clock in the shape of a cat, its tail, dangling, the pendulum.

When everything finally was recognizable, at least standing still enough for Annie to focus on it, the Long Haired Man was joined by his wife, the Straight Haired Woman. She slipped up against him to sit across his legs and wrap one arm around his shoulders and one around his mug of Joe. She sipped a little from the cup and then kissed him, letting the hot fluid run between her lips, over his own and into his mouth. Annie could feel it burn a little but not in the way she would normally feel it. Aside from the slightly tingling of pain, there was another intense emotion swelling up inside of her host, one that Annie couldn’t recognize.

She’d never been in love before, but she wondered if this is what it felt like. “Perhaps,� she thought to herself, but as she did, the Long Haired Man’s lips spoke the same words, breaking the coffee colored kiss right down the middle.

“Perhaps what?� asked his wife, staring down into his eyes and feeling something very different inside of her own skin.

“I don’t know.� He looked around, almost as if trying to turn his head to see what was inside of it. “I really don’t know why that came out.� He leaned back on to her and began kissing her.

“Well,� she stopped him, “do you know what I know?� She was toying with the top button of her blouse, running her fingernails from the other hand up and down the side of his neck, sharp and slow up behind his ear and through his hair.

“I know that you’ve been wonderful with me for these past few months.� She popped the top button. “I know that you’ve been extremely patient with me, pushing around and quitting job after job to figure out how I’m going to do this art gallery thing.� She had begun fiddling with the next one down. “And I know that I have the most amazing husband ever.� She popped that one open, and leaned in to kiss him. Annie had never felt so much tongue in a mouth before, and this coming from the woman! She laughed a little but then realized she sort of liked it. She laughed a little more at that.

“And, you know what else?�

The Long Haired Man looked into her inquisitively.

She pulled herself up onto the kitchen table, and proceeded to do the same to him. “I love you, George.�

Before Annie knew exactly what was going on, the Long Haired Man and the Straight Haired Woman were nearly half undressed and tickling, poking, prodding and sticking together in all sorts of wonderful ways.

“George!� Annie screamed inside of that head, she had suspected it but back in the real world had managed to convince herself that this was all an elaborate dream. “These are my parents!� She focused again on the outside and realized that she was now inside of her father’s body while he was kissing his wife, her mother, all up and down her horizon, every pore touched, every hair brushed over. Then Annie realized how much she was enjoying it all. It was the strangest feeling she’d ever experienced, the thought of being aroused by her own parents, but she couldn’t be certain if it was just her feeling what George was feeling or if she was connected to it somehow, too. Finally he slid up to look into his wife’s eyes and right then and there Annie could see his reflection in her eyes.

Annie was overcome with intense emotion, like she’d never felt before, her heart dropped back in her real body and she was thrust instantly from that world back into her own. When her eyes opened she was still in the tree, panting and in the middle of a panic attack. She closed her eyes again and tried to wait for it to subside.

Annie laid there, very still, with her eyes closed, her heart slowly pumping down from the gigantic oversized ball it had become. She thought about how wonderful the experience was, but how strange it felt to kiss her mother with her father’s lips. She put her fingers to her own lips. Annie was nearly going to try and laugh it off, after all, it was no big deal, she couldn’t control that body and it was innocent enough on her part. She kept repeating this until she realized that it wasn’t innocent. It wasn’t innocent at all, because what she was confused about was not the feeling of kissing her mother, but that when she caught her father’s reflection in her mother’s eyes, just for that moment, she was certain that he could see her. And she was certain that he could see how she felt about him. And how she felt about him, that was the unexplainable part.

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