No, we were children, too cynical not to know everything it meant and tried not to mean, everything it could possibly mean and didn't really, everything people said it meant when really running their wagging tongues was a wind-up dollar sign on green plastic legs, churning in a happy-feet dance. The Olympics. We laughed it off with our eyes lit up. Then we ran to gawk and make fun, at the edge of the show.
The duplex your family was crammed mostly into abutted university property that had been taken over by foreign athletes. Designated housing for invading gymnasts and object-tossers; acrobats and jugglers. You and I huddled, crouched tangled together behind an empty chain-link fence that stretched as good as forever, our hands making claws gripping the taut, dull woven-metal net. Fingers of your right hand curled into mine, steel wire threaded in and between our pink fingers pinched into blooms of white and red skin.
"You think she's hot?" you teased as a line of identical tiny things filed from the side of a block building, from out of an institutional steel door and into a waiting bus. "Do you wish I was that skinny?"
"No." My eyes were transfixed by the details of the girls' bodies and faces. I was trying to determine which country had sent them. "Hell no," I elaborated. I turned to grin, and saw your eyes riveted as mine had been, peering through the fence with a still, thoughtful gaze. I leaned in, my face right next to yours: "Hell no."
Your eyes snapped to mine in a sudden wide smile. "Hey," you began. A breeze blew a stray wispy lock of your green-gray dyed and sun-bleached hair into your greenish-gray eyes. You puffed it aside, tossed your head. "Hey, you wanna break in there? See how the other half lives?"
My smile froze my surprised laugh in my throat, but I forced it out anyway: "Ha, ha - you mean the other half in jail? See how they live?" Which only widened your grin, and you began nodding excitedly for reasons I couldn't say, but with a mirth that was too contagious not to catch. "Okay, captain - what's the master plan? Count me in!" Your smile grew vague, you looked off into the distance and a thoughtful look crossed your face.
I'd learned by then that no good ever came from that look.
To Be Continued in Part 2