I looked up, already sobbing, but you hadn’t even noticed. You rode, your hands limp at your sides, whistling to a bird, tunelessly. The violins got louder.
Stephen! I called, tears rolling down my cheeks. My hands burned, stung, ached. I wanted to stop the pain, but I couldn’t move.
A moment passed. Your hands went slowly back up to your handles.
For a moment, I didn’t think you would turn around.
But you did: I watched you as you calmly angled your bike to face me, breaking that eternal forsaken moment. You looked surprised, but only mildly.
I looked at the tiny shards of gravel embedded in the pink layers of my skin.
You pulled the bike off of me. Well, get up, you said. You weren’t even looking at me. You were watching the sun, somewhere beyond the murky clouds.
I looked up at you, and you looked back down at me. My eyes, red rimmed; my hands, my knees, my ankle, the pain. I couldn’t see your eyes from behind the reflection of grey pavement in your glasses.
I’m hurt, I told you. More tears slid down my cheeks, reflecting the world as though they were incredibly interested in everything it had to offer them. They hit the pavement like I did, without witness.
I know. Don’t cry. You extended a hand to help me when I didn’t move, but I just stared at you.
Get up, you repeated.
I struggled to stand. Moving caused sheets of pain to flash across my knees, but I stood. My ankle wanted to give out beneath me, but I stood. The violins were ascending now, louder and louder. I tried not to panic. Didn’t you care?
We walked off of the road, you pushing my bike. Yours stood, solitary, in the middle of the farm road. Only its kickstand kept it from falling. I can’t help but think it looked incredibly lonely.
You went back and pulled it into the grass, where I stood, crying.
Stop crying, you told me, unfeeling.
I coughed, trying.
It was then you grinned. You grinned at me, like I wasn’t hurt, like I wasn’t weeping. Want some ice cream? You thumbed towards the road. Above the violins I heard the oblivious sound of the ice cream truck.
You walked out right into the middle of the road and waved him down. He was on his way home, away from town, having already gone on his rounds. We knew that. We knew him on a first name basis, but I can’t remember what it is now.
I don’t remember his face, either.
You ordered us two of the blue popsicles, the vanilla. Each a dime. You didn’t ask me what I wanted. I suppose if you had, I would have gotten what you liked anyway.
We sat on the side of the road, on an old concrete block a farmer dropped there maybe centuries before. I licked my popsicle as I hiccupped, struggling to keep my tears away by your bidding. Yours hung by your hand and melted.
We were eight.