We hunt for mushrooms every other weekend in random cow fields and never find any. Are we even trying? I don’t think I know what to look for. Today we discover a secret place: an arbitrary circular slab protruding out of a hillside. Perhaps it’s a forgotten military launch pad. We call it Nike Site and make it ours, brush away the green broken glass to lie on the cool surface. I light cigarettes and we listen with our eyes to the sighing of the bluffs and the mountains by the sea.
We meet there on muggy afternoons in tank tops and jean shorts to write poetry Jim Morrison-style because we are still in that phase: Let’s fly baby, V in the sky, that glides like sweat licked away . . . At night we hang out at the Copa, then walk to the bus stop under the overpass that reeks of piss. It’s almost 3am as the fog rolls in but no bus appears. You’re cold, so I start a fire in the trashcan. The cops suddenly arrive with sirens and flashlights. You convince them a homeless man did it.
We have this certain visual aesthetic going on, a dark neutral-density filter we see through that is not unlike a certain deep-sea creature with delicate skin and a milky, ethereal shell. We know that all we need to do is to keep what we want within sight. Such as midnight coffee marathons at Denny’s, and those coy encounters with the silky-haired boys. What are their names again? But especially this: the dawn excursions with your older sister to the chiseled picnic tables at edge of the bay.
It’s here we become who we are. Your sister sits with her boyfriend, the one we imagine she’ll be with forever. They share a cigarette while we scurry down a spiral pathway carved into the sharp cliffs, and lightly skip over clasped azure seashells to cling as they do to the skin of the muddy crags below. You pose for me and I steady the camera until the brackish wind bursts into our mermaid hair. We pretend not to notice when the shadowy tide slips in.
- By Tanya Soraya Ruys
*originally published in Zaum Literary Magazine #XIX, 2014