Giggling at me as she holds my life in her hands, she opens her mouth and faces the ever-growing starry sky with the look of a naughty kid on her lips. There are tears in her eyes the same as there are in mine. I can see the fillings in her teeth, and the missing chunk of tongue she bit off when she was not long out of nappies. It’s what gave her that ever so slight lisp of hers of which she’s so subconscious of. She did it racing up the stairs going to the toilet. Before she could, however, she tripped, fell, and smashed her jaw on the third step from the top. The chunk of tongue bit off was inadvertently swallowed, joined later by a tooth she gulped down in her sleep knocked loose after falling from a climbing frame. When her mother found her on the stairs, she promptly fainted at the sight of all the blood. It was up to her father to come to her rescue. Scooping her up in his arms, he took her into the bathroom and did his best to soothe her while her mother moaned and groaned on the floor somewhere behind them. I’ve seen photographs of her father, and whenever she loses her temper, it’s his eyes I see. Those sad, unfathomable eyes that suck me in and drown me with the sweetest sense of melancholy I’ve tasted in my life. Gurgling some song in the back of her throat, she rides me with a look of bliss; it’s the look of a girl unafraid of the world. It won’t last long—it never does—and yet here, in this tree, we find ourselves in a bubble made of perfect poetry. It’s not quite the same as the lines I tasted in my youth, and yet the highs they give are as close as I’ll get to reaching those adolescent ones again.