Green

Green were their knees and elbows at the end of every day during the spring. Even when they couldn't remember why the jokes they told when they were kids were funny and they were too old and self-aware to play tag with each other in the park, even when they were in their late teens and almost too old for selling papers, they still somehow ended up with green stains on their knees and elbows. Stains that wouldn't come out all the way, even if Blink scrubbed and scrubbed with Kloppman's coarse soap for hours.

He'd eventually just have to put the shirt back on, green stains and all, and that was one thing Mush adored. Blink smelling clean and fresh from scrubbing his shirt, but still nice and green from their outdoor activities.

Green from tackling each other, green from rolling around in the grass, green from being two healthy boys in the park who couldn't take their eyes off of each other. Green from spring.

Green were the buds and then the new, young leaves in the park. Green shadows fell on Blink's face, Mush thought, as they walked under trees in the park, newspapers hoisted on their shoulders but in their own world where pennies and nickels didn't matter. Green shadows from the sunlight filtering through the new leaves, making shapes against bare, pale skin, reflecting like a halo off of smooth blond hair.

Blink loved the new green things, the grass and weeds and especially leaves. He'd reach up and grab a tree branch, sending newly-returned birds off indignantly to a calmer perch, and snatch a young leaf or two. "Look," he'd say to Mush. "Green."

Mush would laugh and scold him, telling him he should leave the green on the trees to grow, and Blink would shrug carelessly and drop the leaves, let the wind carry them gently down to the ground a few paces away. And Mush would always stoop and pick them up and examine them, the different shades of green in the veins and at the edges and the crinkles, and he'd pocket the leaves and carry them around for a few days, until they were so torn they were little more than the veins at all, and they stained the insides of his pockets, too.

Every time Mush looked at a new green leaf, on a tree or in a pocket or clutched in Blink's hand, he thought of Blink, and he smiled, and even if it was dark night or freezing rain outside, he'd feel sunlight on his face and gentle lips at his neck.

Green was Blink's eye, so sincere and wide and almost frightened, the first time Blink took Mush's hand in a non-brotherly fashion and held it. The first time Blink murmured, "I love you," and he looked so nervous, like there was any chance Mush wouldn't say it back.

Green and bright and joyful was the eye when Mush said, "I love you too," and leaned in to kiss him for the first time. Green was the whole world, when they started kissing; Blink's eye and grass stained knees and the shadows on his skin.

Green was new things, like buds; green was growing things, like grass; and green was old things, like having loved his best friend since before he could remember.

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