In the basement where we played for hours, you were my Adam as I was your Eve, the first two people on blanket earth. There in the middle of the moldy room we stood side by side, looking all around us for the tools we needed, and began to quietly collect the best materials we could use for our blanket fort.
Together we built a shelter that would keep us safe from sibling Visigoths, massive in scale, big heavy books and piles of magazines keeping down the corners of blankets. Every old smelly shoe in the house must have been place around the perimeter; just as a castle had a stone wall you spared our fort no detail. We encouraged each other with expressive ooh’s and ahh’s as something old was used anew, we never argued how to go about this endeavor, instead equally impressed with one another’s pure genius. Once it was finished I remember standing by your side, my hands on my hips, sweating as much as a child could sweat and smiling proudly.
You pulled back the wool flap and I instinctual got on my hands and knees to crawl inside. The sound was different, in the dark I could feel the sheets above my head, and together in the dark, whispering ever so softly we devised a plan; we each took on a list of things to collect, in secret, undetected, and to meet back here.
We set out alone snatching up anything we thought we would need, no one knew how long we would be down there, and everything in the house seemed important to have in the blanket fort. Back inside we were each amazed with each other’s ability to bring back such booty, a lamp, some pillows, board games, toys, without getting caught. Why you needed to bring your baseball bat I have no idea, but at the time it made perfect sense. Once everything found its place in the odd shaped structure, we took in a deep breath because our next excursion would surely find us in the hands of the grown up enemy.
We sealed the entry to our woven shelter and left its safety in search of food in the cupboard forest upstairs. You held my hand tightly as we passed through the tacky wall paneling wilderness and it steadied my nerve. You were older than me, you lived there and knew the surroundings, it felt natural to have you lead the way. There was a sense that if we failed we would not only have to make peace with the heathen brother and sister tribe but we would lose the feeling of twoness.
I remember saltine crackers, juice boxes, peanut butter and stealing a bag of cookies – the great hunter being unable to hold back a giggle as he ran me back down the stairs. We both waited for a moment to listen if we had been detected and only once we were sure, did we pull back the blanket and lock ourselves in with clothing pins.
The sixty watt fire burned as we feasted, what a boy and girl talked about for so long, I cannot recall. I remember my Holly Hobby record player scratching over my mother’s Grateful Dead record, it was either that or your sisters’ Mickey Mouse recording, and Gerry seemed the better bet. The whole band coming through one tin speaker, but it didn’t matter; we were alone existing without anyone else and we had everything we needed.
The hard lesson was that we had to take down the fort at the end of every visit, nothing was ever put back were we found it, but the deconstruction of our time together always improved our next time together: how to better build the fort, what changes needed to be made, and the anticipation of once again being alone together. Strangely we were building, planning, towards something without ever knowing it.
There with our faces burning red hot from the light bulb fire, the wool knit blanket casting an outward shadow onto the wall behind our fort you kissed me for the first time. Two little Indians with their fists clenched tight at their sides in protest. I remember my eyes were open, I could see each eye lash of yours as if they were my own. Our lips salty and dry from too many crackers and not enough juice, once your lips touched mine I felt as though I was going to pee and throw up at the same time. It was long and still, pressing our faces into one another’s till your mouth opened and forced my lips open a bit and we exchanged air. My ears were burning hot with the sound of my own heart beat as you pulled your head away from mine and I remember looking at you unsure of myself till you smiled.
On instinct we opened the flap to the fort, no one was watching, the fear of being caught was real and made me feel sick, but that didn’t stop us from kissing a second time. Your eye lashes fluttering against mine, I closed my eyes, and my bowels screamed back at me with a shiver and shake. Your hand was bigger than mine and I felt it cover my own, hot and sweaty, this kiss was different – the shelter, the food, the mate. Every visit after the anticipation of more kisses came over me, I felt it in a different place as my mother drove us over to your house to visit, it was no longer just in my head and imagination, it was a tight knot in my belly. Just us two, Adam and Eve, under the wool knit canopy of our blanket fort.