The inner tubes were there in the barn and stacked, and this time it was winter, not fall, and you were standing there at the bottom of the hill holding one and grinning at me. “Let’s go!” you said, and I went, carrying my tube up the hill beside you, both of us laughing as we slipped on the half-melted snow over ice and a weekday, and no one else near.
It was foolish, I know, foolish to be there in the cold, in the late afternoon, dark ready approaching even as we started our descent into that fearful night, the wonder and the improvisation. They are tubes, inner tubes, and not skis, not sleds, not snowboards, no canvas covers or lifts to drag our butts up the steep hill, no one watching out even as we sail down dangerously near the river where we rode on these tubes in the cold autumn water such a short time ago.
Your bare hands are red, now, raw, you damn you, always ready even when you’re not, always wanting to take me on these adventures. And I go all too willing. You remind me, it was my idea.
The heat of night awaits us, somewhere, in the glow of a fire, in the glow of love suspected. Your hands will still be red then, but warm as your fingers unfasten, trace temptation.
The thrill of it, the cold, the stunning slide, clouds dark along the horizon that is visible from up high, yellow lingering low in the sky as the brilliant blue turns pale, then nearly dark when we both lie laughing, soaking wet at the bottom. Only one ride today, a sudden urge, a moment stolen from no time, from the precious bite we take from it, from thoughts, from dreams, from the promise, from life.