Danny texted, and Jess dropped her hot hand from mine.
Back in 10. Drs said Ill B ok. My folks gonna phone yrs. Deep sht.
We’d been remaking Avatar in Danny’s garden after school. He was in every scene. I held his uncle’s camcorder and watched Jess run around with him painted blue on her back, my mum’s garden twine round their foreheads to seal their bond. Danny’s direction always involved him and Jess touching in some way. She’d sort of glance at me first, but always go along with it. Afterwards she’d come to my house, up to my bedroom, and watch me do the AVITricks editing. The more I sulked the more lovey-dovey she’d get.
Danny wanted an extreme close-up for the scene near the end where Jake Sully suffocates in the Pandoran atmosphere. Jess had to sit on his chest and press on his windpipe to get the effect. I couldn’t focus on his face that close, so I was supposed to reframe the shot afterwards to edit out her hands. He already had red marks from our first takes but he was unhappy with what we’d got so far. It was all about realism. “If you don’t take a risk,” he argued, quoting Coppola, “how are you going to make something really beautiful?”
Now I had to edit the footage before they got back shouting to see what had happened. We were grounded forever anyway, but if they saw it was her, no way would they let Jess near Danny again.
I moused open a rectangle over Danny’s face with her bitten fingernails safely outside. I looked at it for a minute.
Then I clicked and dragged a corner until the scrubby slivers of pink reappeared at the edges of the frame.
This story first appeared in The Waterhouse Review, July 2012