We hear him skulking in the backyard. He lingers over the snapped branch, and I imagine his eyes brittling like ice. We don't know when he will speak so we stand in the backyard with our fingers entwined, listening to his heavy breathing and the rain misting the treetops.
It occurs to me that I haven't been this still for a very long time, and I think if I could reach out and touch them both, I could mold this moment like a piece of jewelry to wear a groove around my finger. Then the rain comes down hard and soaks the trees until they are black and wet like my insides, and I know I have to move or shake or let go of his hand.
We walk up the hill together, one of them on each side of me, and I want us to keep walking past the parked cars outside the bar house, cross the road, and stop for a moment at the pond. There, we could stand beside each other and stare at our distorted reflections as the rain comes down and laughter leaks through the windows in the bar. We might be happy, the three of us, gawking at the smiling faces in the water. I know I would.
Instead, we go inside and sit at a round table. They talk about the noise on the tin roof, and I buy the three of us double shots of whiskey. I should feel caught or busted but I don't.
The waitress brings a shot of Jagermeister, compliments of the gentleman at the bar.
They shake their heads as I drink it down. Cold, black, and wet, it coats my throat, feeling like victory inside.
Then there's just us, the empty shot glasses, the last of the acorns pouncing on the tin roof, and the man at the bar patting the stool next to him.