But this after for you see before.  You see before the girls were expelled from the tree house—the song that was sung.  By Gabby—teasing…

GABBY

Aaron and Dulcy sittin’ in a tree.  K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

BENJY

Kiss him!  Kiss him, Dulcy!

And you see the kiss.  You see Aaron and Dulcinea succumb to the peer pressure.  Two children with their eyes closed.  They’ve been holding hands both hands twirling in a circle inside the tree house the centrifugal force pulling them apart though they still hold on.  They stop to Gabby’s song.  To Benjy’s imperative.  They stop facing each other holding their hands.  And slowly they lean their heads towards each other bending at the torso—that image like a picture in black and white—knees locked and torsos bent their heads leaning in with eyes closed Aaron with his lips puckered and Dulcinea’s lips pursed shut.  The touch just but a moment and then like a reaction to an electric spark their heads bounce back and they let go of each other’s hands their eyes opening their faces unsure as Gabby stops singing and starts giggling as Benjy laughs facing away from them for a moment looking out beyond the tree house to the Sabine running in the distance the stick he’s been holding whipping through the air making it whistle.

BENJY

Kneel!

Benjy turns and holds the stick as a sword and as Aaron and Dulcinea step back from each other as Aaron looks at Benjy and follows his command in an awkward and unsure movement Benjy raises the stick over his head and rests it on Aaron’s shoulders as if knighting him.

BENJY

Now stand a man!

Aaron stands up and smears the back of his hand across his lips.

AARON

Yuck!

And you must see this as children do.  None of them are over four feet tall.  Aaron but just four and Dulcinea five—Gabby and Benjy just a year older.  You must see so their words aren’t out of character for they’ve all been playing roles inside this tree house the before this after children playing house—Benjy and Gabby the children and Aaron and Dulcinea the parents.  But Benjy doesn’t want to play this anymore.  In fact the kiss allowing him to step out of character for now he is king this role reversal sudden and alluding to their short attention spans following the impulses of each other in the mad play of their imaginations that to children at play doesn’t seem like madness but the uncontrollable voice of emotions piling on each other free and in the moment without any discernible consequences—Benjy the oldest assuming the lead in the game they will play next—all of it happening fast and without indication or words in reference to any disbelief.

GABBY

(to Aaron)

You’re not my Daddy no more…  Who is my father now?

DULCINEA

I’ll be queen!  I’m queen!

BENJY

No, you’ve been kissed by my knight.  Gabby is my queen, but she’s been unfaithful—she’s sung you to kiss…

AARON

(to Benjy)

I thought I was father, but your father is a magician…

GABBY

A magician? Dulcy, is your father a magician?

DULCINEA

I don’t know what my father is…  Benjy is king now!

BENJY

Yes… and my first decree is all girls are banished!  You’ve kissed my noble knight—you my queen’s servant!  There will be no kissing here!

GABBY

But I’ve heard him.  I’ve heard your father play!  He has a guitar.  It has a hole in it.  He does magic on it.

BENJY

You mean musician… but magician is fine too.  Out with you!  This will not happen in my kingdom!  Aaron, grab your sword.  You’ve been betrayed!  Betrayed by a kiss!

Benjy hands Aaron a stick and for a moment they play at sword fighting before turning on the girls.  That’s when you see what happened after—the girls expelled from the tree throwing dirt clods up at the boys and Benjy leaning over the rail letting spit dangle from his lips.  You hear the whistle of their sticks slicing through the air, and mixed with it—from far off—a train whistle as it crosses the Sabine.  Then you hear Bethany’s voice—calling them—disembodied and out of the picture.

BETHANY

Come children!  Come!  It’s time for your bath!  You have school tomorrow!

CHORUS

How time is sorrow in recapitulation!  For the old and wise say how time is fleeting, but this not true when you know it!  Women seem evil in their silence, and men are deemed good in their work.  And can you love more than one at one time?  Yes, children see a first kiss differently than as a man or woman, and to neither does it seem like more when more will come—the last always a betrayal.  And yes boys become separated as men by the women they love all this fair in war.  The truth about time fleeting to fleet with it and hold on only to oneself as your one truth.  Children in their madness must play their stage the roles inherent and so enough of it.  Enough of who they are—who they really are—for outside that tree the soul does not find its composite truth.  Outside the tree where children once played as a family, where Aaron and Dulcinea once kissed, where Benjy played king and Gabby his queen—a story told down through the ages.  Reflected in their fathers and mothers and refracted into some unnamable future—the nobility of their human race—in encapsulation of all our nobility.  To progress to make goals and better ourselves when at each and every moment that what we love can be taken away that it will be taken away at some set and future time and there’s nothing we can do about it—this denial our denial our nobility—the virgins trimming their wicks.  This our faith and acquiescence to our indelible fate.  To love anyway.  To kiss anyway.  Even if it be our last…

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