This is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote last summer. It was included in the 2017 edition of my high school's literary magazine, and I wanted to share it here as well.
My hair drips chlorinated water onto the pavement. The sun set hours ago, but the concrete ground still holds the heat, and we sprawl out on it, offering our night of splashing around in faded swimsuits.
My best friend laughs, interrupting the rhythmic hum of the cicadas and the mosquitos that make our skin swell. Until a few moments ago I could hear the beat of my older sister’s music from upstairs.
“What?” I ask.
“Oh, I just thought about last Fourth of July, when Lucy got the pool noodle stuck in her braces.”
We both laugh.
This is the first summer without braces, the last one before driving. There’s something tainting the air that I can’t name. It feels heavy and important and a little intrusive. It makes breathing a little more difficult, makes impulsivity gleam like the best option. My mom just keeps calling me a brat.
We’ll return to school in August, and it will be different. These are things we don’t know yet, things we’re secretly hoping for on these hot extended days. Lucy will get us to try our first shots of vodka. I’ll kiss the boy from the private school a town over and cry when he dates the girl with long dark hair.
There’s something meditative about just stretching out here, right hand close enough to touch the water, legs collecting bug bites. There aren’t any obligations; this moment could be suspended in time. I can feel myself growing.