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I wrote a whole series of these a few years ago. They still take me right back to the moment.

I come to and I’m in the back parking lot of the restaurant. It’s been raining, so the moon is reflected in puddles on the concrete. The air is cold and rich and charged—I drink it in deep, all the way to my tailbone. Then I take a deep drag of my cigarette, and think that’s funny. I stand up and spin, my lime green dress orbiting around me. I am in love with myself and my body and the air and the moon and the cigarette and the green and pink and yellow spinning around me.

I come to and I’m teaching this little boy to Walk Like an Egyptian. I am sweaty from dancing so much but I don’t care. My bridesmaid dress isn’t white or anything so it’s okay. All our dads are dancing. My dad looks at me with love and laughter: “Have we ever done this before?” No, we haven’t. I am vaguely embarrassed by his lack of rhythm. Natalie’s dad is going to town with his mustache and this strange, exclamatory dance with lots of pointing. Darby’s dad is by far the worst—or the best—because he dances just like Darby warned us he would: he stands still and pumps his arms in the air, without heed to rhythm, a look of ecstatic joy on his face. I want to cry because my best friend just got married and our dads are horrible dancers and I’m so happy and full that I could shake apart.

I come to and we’re playing What Color is the Sky? I like Atomic Orange. He insists it’s Dishwater Grey. I lean back on my hands and fidget with the rough grain of the roof, which feels like sandpaper against the pads of my fingers, and imagine we are on a giant square of sandpaper under the Atomic Orange/Dishwater Grey sky with no stars in sight. My feet are sweaty in my moccasins and I wiggle my toes, feeling them slip and slide all over each other in the leather. I am nervous because I want him to kiss me. When he finally does it’s fun and warm and my earrings are bothering his mouth so I take them off and lay them together carefully, the posts forming an x, making him promise to remind me to get them later. They’re still up there.

I come to and realize I have been watching the three lights blink, on and off, more or less in a row, rippling at me across the air misting off of the Puget Sound. I think of the word Sound and its connotations as the sounds of the passing train rise out of the gulch, tiny and perfect, like there’s a miniature train in my ear—chugga chugga chugga toot toot! This makes me laugh and I accidentally inhale some of the Basic brand cigarette I’d been sucking into my mouth and blowing out, because I haven’t learned how to smoke yet, not really—but I don’t know this. All I know is the promise of being 17 and the magic of the clear night air and the blinking, on and off, of the lights.

I come to and I’m watching Natalie Sander-singular become Natalie Kern. Her happiness makes her a fruit that is too ripe, flushed and heavy and achingly, fully beautiful and this fullness is contagious as I grip Mike Raimondi’s hand and catch Kylie’s eye. I am hit with the weight of it: we are growing old, we are getting married, we are making the memories we will tell our children about when we are misshapen and lined and they won’t believe we ever sat like this in our best clothes with our clean hair and lip gloss, under the trees listening to the creek gripping each others’ hands and crying, crying at the gains and the losses that this moment holds out to us in its sun-dappled palms.


Ashley said...

I remember these! I've miss them.. like I miss you!

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