She was a child not a pet, and a girl not a toy, but his tormenting bordered on cruelty only man knew how to inflict on another. They first met as children. He pulled her ponytails. He made her laugh until she cried. He called her brain dead, vegetable head, along with all the other names of wit that hit school walls and stuck. She told her dog about her friend and how one day they would be married. He took her into the woods to play with her mind, then her body, examining it before exhibiting and imposing his own. Overpowering her like a tree rooting into earth, or a rockslide, as unpredictable as she was, a warm torrent coursing through his limbs, splashing clouds into the sky. Around others he teased and avoided her. He was heartless when he was not alone with her. Always restless like an animal, wanting the ravage speed of a cheetah or the flight of a hawk. He shot past her – roaring off on his two-wheeled machine. She never understood where he was going or why so fast, or why her body changed and swelled, pounding like ocean waves. Her stomach a whitecap cresting toward the sun. Flowers rising from meadows. Babies born. Wings fluttering into air. A dream of birds soaring through her lungs as she sang a song of lullabies. Waiting, never doubting, one day he would return. But the vacant look in his eyes was new. Alive but asleep, inside a bandaged head, far away inside his mind, said the doctor. She imagined the crash of a wave hitting sand petals crushed hard into dirt broken apart like the bright red machine he rode. The streets flooding and riverbanks overflowing with tears before it would end. The sun, she believed, would come again, bringing colors to guide him through the dark pavement wall he struck to find his way home into her heart. Looking lost when he arrived, his eyes searching for a smile that she alone was there to give. She cradled his body to reassure him – his tentative light. An awakening child, delicate as a flame. He was going live, not as before. Reborn her equal. Slow in mind but not lacking of love. Knowing her now completely, he no longer wished to grow wings and fly away.