I remember how the juice stained my fingers and turned my lips purple as it trickled down my chin. I remember how the thorns stuck in my jeans and tugged at my hair as I pushed my way through. If I close my eyes, I can hear her voice. Humming Amazing Grace softly to herself. Hours were spent the briar patch, picking blackberries. I ate as many as I put in my bucket. Every Saturday was spent there.
On Monday when I went back to school the other kids talked about their weekend adventures. Movies and the mall were what they chattered about. While I had lots to tell I just smiled and nodded. When asked what I did, "oh nothing" was my reply. There was something magical about that briar patch. It was all mine. I didn't want to share it with anyone. Except her.
We'd talk about life and I'd tell her all the things I never could find the words for in front of others. Yet when it was just me and her, the words seemed to take on a life of their own. They streamed forth from me. Insisting to be brought into existence. A never ending supply of words and syllables combined together into thoughts and emotions. Secret treasures hidden from all but her.
They use to ask me about my stained fingernails. I would just shrug. Never offering an explanation. Most likely they thought me to be trailer trash with dirty nails, but I knew better. So did she.