We were feral children, safely lost in the rainforest – tree forts high in the emerald canopy, half-naked, at war, raining cones on those who would climb to dislodge us.
We were urchins – immigrant children, crusty, irreverent, defying the trespass of strangers – amoral in our torture of earthworms, just to see what would happen.
We cussed and spit, and drank from cold rivulets that wound perfectly around moss-covered giants fallen centuries ago.
We dared to explore the secrets of our bodies – but not too far because we knew it was sacred – but far enough to be amazed.
We lost ourselves in our immortality. We were endless beings who changed from one day to the next, leaping delighted and frisky like dolphins in the cold lakes of summer.
But then it happened – the little pencils that measured our height in the doorway, the unbidden changes that encroached relentlessly on our kingdom, and the girls, who had left in ages past, calling us from the edge of our enchantment.
They called us by names we could not resist. We struggled as chrysalids struggle against the waves that release new birth. We shook our hands above our heads like sea fans waving beneath the waters – and suddenly became no more – beings in an alien land weeping for dreams we could not remember.