The Scent of Green                             (Warning! Potential disturbing topic issue)  

Were you afraid?

His voice was smooth and even, like water spilling over a glass table. No, I was not. It was a different world, a different time. I floated in a sea somewhere. I can remember now, she was beautiful, soft and smelled like trees.

She was a neighbor and when I was three, her husband was gone for long periods in the fighting. She had no children and was very lonely.

She used to borrow me from my mother at night. My mother was very young with several children, and grateful to her.

The woman would read me stories and at bedtime, she would wash me as one does a child, caress me, kiss my hands and belly and little three year old penis and it would get hard. I make no judgment about it.

There were many things to fear, but not at home, not her. Afraid of silencing him, I drew my words up from sorrow cautiously, making them calm and quiet.

What if that happened to a little girl, to your daughter? Would you think differently?

He paused, head turned as though listening to the night outside, lifted the curtain to see the empty street. Once when my son was little, the babysitter did that to him. Well, some things happened, and when I found out, 

 

I was angry! I could probably have killed her right there. But that kind of rage accomplishes nothing. I did not turn her in, you did not turn anyone into the authorities in my country. I talked to her a long time trying to make her see her wrong, then banished her from our lives.

 

He ran his finger over the cool windowsill next to the bed, and then across the outline of my body lying face away from him, dark profile against the dim lamplight.

 

But I do not make judgment about what happened with me. I do not view it as right or wrong. Oh, I know now, it should not have happened. It should happen to no child, ever.

 

And still, I can still remember the smoothness of her skin, the scent of green of her bed as I fell asleep. There is some mysterious pleasure in the memory.

He sat up slowly, pulling the pillow behind him, leaned against the wall gazing into the shadowy room, seeing nothing, silence as companion.

 

Then from the time I was about eight, I was very sexual with girls who were older than me. These hands you said the other night were ‘so beautiful?’            

 

He looked at his hand relaxed on my body, I was born with them, you know, I can take no credit for them. Sometimes I laugh at them, sometimes I cry. How they long to touch women. No, I have no judgment about what happened.

Sharon Lopez Mooney, ‘The Scent of Green”’, in Unliiely Stories Mark V, electronic magazine  ed. Jonathan Penton, 2021, New Orleans, LA, https://www.unlikelystories.org/content/the-scent-of-green-and-dying-from-a-different-kind-of-arid