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“Now she was still, waiting. For the first time she left herself open, her face open to our curiosity. Her little eyebrows. Her open eyes. The tender seclusion of her lips. The fine hairs, like peach fuzz, on the nape of her neck. Her hair, darker now, softer. The fascination of her fine hair, the fascination of imagining Marina’s hair like a microscopic forest that we could enter if we were the size of a mosquito. The fascination of our secrets, the secrets we were about to tell her because she was so close now, and she loved us. We saw up close now what we’d admired from afar for so many months: the curve of her ear; the slight shine on the flesh of her eyelid; her nostrils; the smooth skin on her neck that sloped and became rougher as it reached her shoulder; the contour of her shoulder bones.
“We have to take off her nightgown.”
“Her underwear, too?”
“Her underwear, too.”
She shivered, and suddenly, there before us, lay her body. We felt tender towards her arms and legs, the tenderness you feel for things too fragile, precious toys you have to touch carefully; we didn’t know how to feel about her torso, two contradictory feelings pulled us in opposite directions. You could hardly see her scar, and there was a small hollow below her chest and above her stomach. We thought it was pretty.”