There is something isolating about being someone no one knows anything about.
There is something freeing about it, too.
Because I don’t have to close my eyes and wait for sleep and hope that, by the grace of some watchful god, I am allowed to dream of being Kitt.
I can pick up a pen, and I become Kitt.
The crickets sing louder than the crows this morning.
It’s an odd sound, one that I’m sure will bother me all day.
But the wind whips it past me, and the trees help to cut it, so running through them makes it sound as if they’re all not even there.
“Do you know which way you’re going, Kitt?” Pear can barley keep up. She’s panting already, and we just left the boat.
“No, but that’s part of the fun,” I call from over my shoulder. “Catch up or I’ll leave you here!”
I zig-zag my way through the rest of the redwoods, ducking every low-hanging branch and jumping over every brave root that breaks through the dirt and lays with the fallen leaves. Even the sunlight barely has time to catch me.
Pear keeps nagging, but she’s getting slower, and the sounds of her whines eventually go away.
I take a few seconds to appreciate the silence it brings. Running as fast as I can under these trees, it seems like it’s just me and them. Sometimes, I wish that it was.
Since I was little I’ve known, they reach for the sun, and grow as high, to protect me from the harm it can bring. At least, in the mornings.
During the day they let me play with the light. Let me feel it on my skin, play with it in my hands. They keep watch and make sure it doesn’t play with me too much.
But sometimes, it escapes their grasp, and woos me it’s way.
(Don’t worry, I’m loyal to my trees.)
The birds start to wake, and ruin my peace. I can hear the words they chirp to one another.
“Good Morning, all! Lovely day! Worms again?!”
Eventually, I tire of their conversation and I give in to my exhaustion, making a roundabout turn to pick Pear up and head to town.
“You abandoned me!” She pouts like a little kid.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” I tell her with my arm around her shoulders.
We’re close as home and Pear still whines about my betrayal.
“You really and truly left me! I know you said you would, but I never expected you to go through with it!” She crows, over and over again.
“I didn’t run so far past you, Pear. Don’t be so dramatic.”
“That’s not my name!’
As I pull the boat onto the rocks, Pear tries to stand and make her way out. Of course, she has no balancing abilities, and nearly knocks herself in with the waves.
“Pear, what the hell are you doing?”
“Well if you hadn’t left me in the middle of the woods, we would have gotten back early and I wouldn’t have to be standing in the boat. I could wait to get out!” She’s twists her face back into a pinch, the same way she had it when I dragged her out of bed and into the boat. “And stop calling me Pear!”
“If you had gotten up earlier, and kept with the pace, we would have.” I finish dragging it in and lift my end of the boat up. “Besides,” I continue, “The sun hasn’t even risen above the trees yet. We’ve still got time.”
She grunts as she picks her end up, and doesn’t bother with talking to me as we walk up the hill and back home.
Our house is a little thing, just like the boat. It’s bothersome, most days. It’s only big enough for a stove and a sink, and one bed that Pear and I have to share.
We try to make it feel- We do the best we can to make it look like
We do what we can to-
“What are you doing?” Christina walks in at the worst times.
“Nothing.” I hurry to move the paper into a drawer, but I think she may have seen it.
“Are you writing again?” She cranes her neck to see the counter.
“Absolutely not. That would be incredibly disrespectful to Harper’s SlopShop as a company, and as a brand-“
“Well have you finished with the boxes? Alice says she needs them.” I have no idea what boxes she’s talking about.
“I have no idea what boxes you’re talking about.”
Christina rolls her eyes. She’s about to open her mouth again when Pearl whips her head around the corner.
“You gave me the boxes, Chris. They’re folded and shelved in the back already.”
“Oh, thanks Pear.”
I wait until Christina’s out of sight to thank her, too.
“Don’t worry about it. Someone’s gotta make sure the starving artist gets to eat. But if she calls me Pear one more time, I’ll have to kill her and then you’re on your own.”
She gives me a wink and a smile before she walks away.
“Get back to work!” She shouts from the backroom.
We do what we can to make it feel like home, but nothing will ever come close to the house we had on the island.
My father built that one himself, before my mother had given birth to me. He worked day and night for a week to build that two-room home in the woods. Far enough from shore that big waves weren’t to be worried about, and deep enough in the forest that you could forget the ocean was even there.
It was small, too, but it didn’t feel that way. Until Pearl was born, I had my own room. Mamma painted flowers across the walls and under the windows. I had a small bed that sat in the corner of the room, opposite the windows. When I got a little bit older, Papa helped me paint stars on the ceiling, with the moon in one corner and the sun in another.
In the kitchen, they painted leaves. The trailed along the countertops and ended at the windows on either side. By Mamma and Papa’s bed, there were painted pictures of big waves washing towards bigger trees. When I asked what it meant, they said it meant me. It made me smile.
When Pear was born, and she asked what it meant, they said it meant both of us. It made Pear cry.
Mamma and Papa slept in what could have been the living room. Given that we didn’t have anybody but us, they didn’t see the point in one.
We had to get in our boat to see them. People.
To go the markets for sweets or just because Papa got tired of looking at just us, we or he got into the boat and felt the wind whip past us, without the cut of the trees. I loved to hang over the edge of the boat and ripple the water with my fingers. Pear always sat inside and clutched close to Mamma.
Most days in that house were beautiful. Mamma loved the forest, Papa loved the ocean, so Pear and I spent a lot of time running through and around both.
But the good days are all blurred. There’s only one day that is it’s own.
When we I was nine and Pear was six, him and Mamma got into an argument. Even though it was storming the roughest it ever had, he ran to the ocean, Mamma ran to the forest, and Pearl and I stayed in the house, and waited for them to come back.
We waited for hours, and then for days. I didn’t sleep, Pear wouldn’t stop crying. Sometimes, she still gets into fits that last for days. Just non-stop sobbing, day and night.
We were there until a couple of people from the Mainland came for us. They said my father hadn’t come by for a few days, and it had them all sick with worry.
They searched for both of them for as long as we had waited there.
They found Papa’s boat capsized, closer to the shores of the other side of the island.
They found Mamma’s shoes caked in mud and lodged under a fallen log.
They never found them.
We were taken back with them, forced to say goodbye to our home and our family, off to live in a place and with people that we barely knew.
Pear and I don’t often talk about that night. When we do, we both agree that they ran off together and left us to live alone on the other side of the island.
It’s a horrible thought, I know. But it feels better than any other truth.
Since then, we’ve lived on the mainland. I go back every chance that I get, to wade in the water like Papa did. To make friends with the trees in the forest like Mamma said I should.
But to live there would mean I could never come back.
And I can’t leave Pear alone like that.