Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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Rochelle Smith is a librarian living in northern Idaho who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. Her essay in this issue won first place in So to Speak’s 2006 nonfiction contest. She is currently working on a piece about black princesses and fairy tales.
I turn off the lamp and ease myself into the hand’s-breadth space between Rob and the wall. In the dark he places my fingers on the supple frets of his ribs, showing me simple chord changes. He murmurs throaty Gaelic into my ear, and I rub his stomach as if he were a sleepy child. We fold against each other like the pages of a letter.
I am on a tiny island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland with a full-grown ram between my legs — not the way I usually spend a summer Saturday. This began as a simple errand, to fetch a fleece for dyeing from John Finlay, a crofter and neighbor of my hosts.