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Walking on Trampolines


His skin.

My fingers could trace the path it has traveled.

Comma-shaped scar of left knee --- bike crash, "Red Demon" dragster, 1974; stitches about right eyebrow --- surfboard fin chop, Cabarita, 1982; faint outline of navy blue, homemade tattoo on left wrist --- high school, my initials.

I know this skin; I know how it feels, I know how it smells, I know every single inch of him.

Joshua Keaton.

He rolls toward me in the ocean of a bed we are lying in at the Hotel du Laurent, restless and hot beneath its cool sheets.

Little waves of nausea tumble through my stomach, and my head aches at each throbbing temple --- precursors, I know, to a hangover that could, as Simone would say, fell a buffalo.

I slip out of bed and go to the bathroom to stare raccoon-eyed into the mirror and consider the girl who has done this thing.

There is something caught in my hair, small and rosy and round.


From the church yesterday, where we stood on the cobble-stones, surrounded by women in bright dresses and children squeezing through pin-striped legs.

My father had put his hand on my cheek just before we went in. "It will be all right, you know, Lulu," he had said --- and it was.

When I entered the church, Josh had turned to look at me, and in that moment it all faded away --- the sandalwood candlees, the clutche of tiny pink rosebuds tied to the pews --- and I was back at the counter of Snow's corner store, where Josh and I stood staring at each other with dumbstruck smiles on our sixteen-year-old faces.

I had walked up the church's aisle on the strength of that look, walked toward Josh determined, from this day forth, for better or worse, to think only about where we were heading, instead of always tugging at every detail of where we had been.

I slide back into the bed and Josh moves toward me, resting his head on my chest, where it rises and falls with my breath, his dark curls caught beneath my fingers. his arms reaching out for me in the half-light, his eyes sleepily opening to widen in horror.

"Lulu," he says, "what the hell?"

He sits bolt upright in the bed and a torent of swear words fall from his lips, raining down on us like yesterday's confetti.

Because, while I may have woken up in a tangle of just-married sheets beside Joshua Keaton and his all-too-familiar skin, I was not his bride.

Walking on Trampolines
by by Frances Whiting

  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1476780013
  • ISBN-13: 9781476780016