The Trade… by Brittney Bullock

We traded seasons, passing them back and forth like notes in class, like old times. I would chase the summer like a dog at play and beg you to hold on to winter, just a little longer, I’d pray. We both knew how mild New Zealand winters could be, or I knew, compared to back home. I knew of winters that would bring tears to your eyes then freeze them just for fun, just before they reached the blessed arcs of your nose. And you would never mock my winters again. Though each year, when that first Autumn breeze rolled in, I’d brace myself for what was to come, and smile a little bit, happy, of course, to give you the gift you’d been so patiently waiting for, to put some color in your cheeks, to make the salty, sweet trade. And we would watch the sunlight marching in, marching out and maybe watch together. It was the best we could do in the quiet of all that space, swimming through it with our eyes half shut. It was the most I could give, the warmth of a summer to replace the delicate heat of an embrace, an apology for the colder months, hope in some phantom form. A prayer, a promise. There was nothing but the skeleton of a nameless bridge stretching far and wide between you and I, the beginning of the earth and the end, and I couldn’t figure out how to fill the gap, pave the way for safe passage, so I sent you summers in January, summers you could sink your toes into, bathe in like a proper Pakeha, shirtless and burning, grinning ear to ear. 

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