June 18, by Anonymous

“Do we all have it in the left?”

We took a moment to examine each other’s nostrils. Ring, stud, ring, stud. Nope, Claire’s was on the right. I was the only one without a nose ring. I was the only boy, but that was okay too.

I flung open the lid of my green backpack – every movement felt momentous – and rummaged around for my Blackberry. To write something down?

On my desktop Toro y Moi wobbled on a skateboard with his hand in the air. A question rolled around in my mind like a tic-tac. Was he waving hello or goodbye? I’d accidentally seen the time.

We all sat in a row. Our profiles were neatly arranged.

I kept catching certain words, like moths, cupping them in my hand and letting them fly off and then grabbing at them again. Sweater. Some variation on the word bat.

Claire arranged rocks on a wooden slat. She wore a red wool hat, yellow shoes, two different socks, one striped, one not. She sat with head curled over her knee. It seemed like such an organic position to be in. And she was quiet, so it was okay if I was quiet.

There were the good preparations and the bad preparations. The good advice and the bad advice. Everything helpful seemed wonderful, like a book put back in its nook so that it looked just right again. All the bad warnings seemed like layers that you had worn on a too hot day.

Mallory had been helpful. Ipod speakers were tragically plastic and stupid. Why would you want to play music? The fact that the music was recorded made it frustratingly false. Why would you listen to fake sounds when you could hear real ones? The sound of the tide.

I slid off my shoes. Then my socks.

Running my bare feet along the dirt and among the rocks was the best feeling in the world. I wanted the dirt underneath my nails and I wanted the twigs to poke me in the neck from behind. Never had I loved my toes more.

I stretched my head as far back as it would go. There was satisfaction in simply moving: my hands, my wrists, wiggling my toes, arching my back, coiling a pencil around my fingers.

I watched the wriggling veins and patterns in my hands. I admired my shirt choice. I’d spent a week fixated on what I would wear. I wondered how much thought the others had put into it.

The texture of the ocean shifted with the sun. First it was all small whirlpools, then it glimmered like glazed clay.  The tide washed over the giant pebbles. It felt like a deep cleanse. It was satisfying to know that the water would rush into every crevice of the rocks.

In the surfaces of every stone and bluff I could see the disgruntled faces of old men. Their noses scrunched up and their lips distended.

A fisherman tugged at his rod.

The flowers and plants felt so vivid and alive and personified and welcoming.

Early in the day, I had felt my muscles quiver and the weight of my jaw. We all agreed that it was coming on. My head resting on a knobby log, I looked up at the trees above us, with their veiny hands interlaced and the white sky breathing through them.

Later in the day, we would fall back in the brush, stretching out our limbs and watching the sun, a hole bored into the sky, and the sea.

Claire offered me an almond. I popped it into my mouth and split it open with a loud crack.

 

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