Excerpt from my unfinished novel, The Boys of Summer
The blades of emerald and juniper grass whisper songs of summers gone. Gone with the gentle wind of halcyon days lost to solitary years. Songs of blush lemondes and flushed cheeks from runs to distant hills. The hills nestle against the twilight blues of the crisp lakes we swam in on brutal nights. Our mothers would come searching the grassy shoreline with flashlights, waiting until we resurfaced, giggling until we were shivering from night breezes and stern threats of taking away our bedroom doors. The water is the same twilight blue of the shutters that covered the dining room windows that I would sit below, staring up at the peeling paint exposing the wooden frame. Waiting for Ms. Fields mother to swing the shutters and curtain open and tell me Ginny would be done with breakfast in 5 minutes; she would toss me an orange and warn me not to take her past the far hillside of the lake. Tiny waves break the blue and reveal distant periwinkle skies, the same color as Ginny's old lacey Sunday school dress. The comforting color I would seek out in the church classroom behind the stairs when Mrs. Langston would separate us to stop our giggling at the imagined smell of Noah’s Ark. Slow rolling clouds smell like the rainy days that wouldn't end.
A faded film scene, gold faded into blue when Ginny stopped coming for the summer. The puzzle piece trees don't interlock and catch me. Untouchable skies are too close to the ground, pressing down on my head and refusing to let go until I crumple into the earth to fossilize and become the oil that they're drilling for beyond the hills. The lake is shallow. I can reach the bottom in the middle, but I’m more at risk of drowning now that she's gone. From early June to late August, Ginny and I lived in the lake. Those all too short summers when she stayed with her grandmother, who demanded to be called “Great Fields.” From September to May, Great Fields lived alone in the wilting house with only my mother and I next door to keep her company. Ginny stopped coming after Great Fields died and left the house to her. No one came back for the house; nothing lives there anymore.
From a discarded journal page: August 11th, 2023
EP idea: the deep end of the pool
blood in the water
"blood in the water, police on the scene
the girl cried "forgive me" but nobody did"
"you said 'the pool's like an ocean'
and started to cry
you said you wish your emotions
didn't feel like july"
"fever drips down my spine
i crack like a body falling from a great height
hitting the water, diving in straight
the lifeguards are hoping that it's not too late"
From a discarded journal page: November 5th, 2023
I am sitting at the dinner table with my friend and I want to ask what she thinks of God. I don't know how to tell her that I am thinking of going back underwater, so I say I think the Bible is beautifully written and she says it depends on the translation.
From a discarded journal page: January 1st, 2024
New years again and my nail polish is cracked. My cuticles are bleeding. I spent the night alone with my family; they didn't want to be there. This year, I will keep my nails clean and tidy. I will kiss someone, anyone. I will know what it is like to be whole.
i suffer perennial delusions
those visions of grandeur
present a new hope annually
but each failure withers my bones
and i lie in wait, dreaming of a better day
when i will pick up the pen, say ‘dear reader’ and someone will truly be on the other side
verily i say unto thee, i am frightened and so alone
dreams of a life where all that glitters is gold and nothing breaks my bones and i’m never too cold and i don’t grow old wait behind my eyelids
that’s where i run to
that misty plane between this world and the next where dreamers walk every night, i walk among them in daylight
my mind constructs castles in the hazy air to which i’ll never hold the key
and so i stare up, up, up, and am left alone to dream
these days i fear i am more grief than girl. i am late january snow pouring temporary solutions over the constant sorrow. i live in fear. will i have to watch everything i love fall away as the leaves do in autumn? will i be left to weather the winter of my life alone? i do not want to live without my family. i cannot afford such a fate. instead of bracing to catch my death, i dream. i dream of spring, the time when everyone is young and no one knows that death lurks in the corner. i try to dream that no one dies. and yet, i know better than to dream of a day where everyone lives. all i ever want is hope and all i’ll ever have is knowledge.
excerpt from a story
i imagine myself a ship in the night with no lighthouse, a wondrous catastrophe. my life, like the long night, looms in front of me. is it three miles to shore or a hundred? catastrophe looms, yet i can only write snippets of the same story.
the story always starts the same: there's a buzzing in my ears quite like a ship in the distance. if i listen too closely, i float away and if i float away, i die. in this story, i don’t fear death. it will be wonderful. when my body dies, i wake up. 10 years old again. my name…sadie this time. nothing bad ever happens to sadie. she is the captain of the ship buzzing in my ears. yes, i do not fear death. for when i die, sadie lives, a new girl.