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holding him hip to hip, or the way we swore secrecy. The bear sticks its nose in my ear. It smells my cheek and under my neck. The massive claw flops onto my body and rolls me like bread. Am I alive? I imagine its placid, hungry eyes searching for mine. Am I moving? It holds me still for a second, listening to my pulse. I feel Eliot’s teeth dig deeper. I could cry out. I could yell until my blood boils. I stay silent for Eliot – this boy who trusts me. This boy who may die with faith in me on the tip of his tongue and my skin in his teeth. This boy whom I would revere no matter how much he needed me. This boy who, naked, is stronger than all of my willpower. This boy who can confront his fears with empty pupils and a rapid heartbeat. I let the silence linger. The bear steps over Eliot’s body, then over mine. Its paw scratches his back and part of my forehead. It stares at us a moment longer, then leaves us, two boulders sinking slowly into the Earth. Eliot throws his arms around me, shaking, keeping his eyes wide open. We lie there, waiting for the creature to reappear behind us. Nothing comes. No one comes. Soon enough, Eliot puts on his clothes and his shoes. I throw my sweater over my head and check the contents of my pockets. As if deconstructing a house, we roll up the sleeping bag together, tightly, then tie it with an orange string. This is what I know: I will drive Eliot back to a home I know nothing about. There, he will probably grab a bowl of cereal and watch the news with his family. He will have discovered something about himself. He will 80

2009-10 Parallax  

Idyllwild Arts Academy Student Literature/Art Magazine 2009-10