When we were at primary school my friends and I had sleepovers almost every weekend. We ate lollies until stalactites of lemon sherbet and stalagmites of liquorice formed inside our tooth-caves. We’d get high on sugar and then make up dances and plays and films. Confections.
Conficere: to do, to produce, to make.
Candice, Krissy, Andrea, Sarah. We’d get so hypo and shout so much we’d usually lose our voices, but if we didn’t we’d chatter and squeal into the early morning until someone’s parents yelled out, “Girls! That’s enough!”
I was back home from uni years later when Krissy’s mum gave me this skirt. I love it. It’s so long I usually pull it up and wear it as a dress, wrapping brown packing tape round and round the outside of it like a mummy to keep it from falling down. A wonky hem I’ve never mended always drips longer at one side.
I’ve worn it to parties. Parties where everything ends up smashed. Parties where guests throw things at each other, sweet things—catch them if you can. The skirt usually stayed up but I fell down, over and over. Cigarette lashes flickering, ashing.
The night dusted with a sugary drone of cicadas, the syrupy feeling in your limbs. Tingles.
Falling back in a swoon, the skirt puffs up slightly. Kisses planted on faces like flowers. Ankles are posies; collarbones, fine china. You’re posing for a painting. Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine.
You find someone’s hand and turn it into lace, weave it into a handkerchief. Press it up to your face, cry into it with laughter. Your little kitten fingers creep through grass chin stubble to his teacup teeth. Enamel saucers of milk. Everyone else just giggling and giggling and giggling.
You break your pose for a moment and sit up. You wonder where you are and someone asks you why you’re wearing a tablecloth. You almost throw something at them but instead you fall back laughing and the skirt puffs up again, just the perfect amount.