The gold sun blazed.
Our well was dry.
For the rest of the summer we drank apple juice and then hard cider at night. Back on the road, I scream that we have to pull over! A river.
We all strip.
I am nervous to be naked in front of these magic summer friends for the first time, but my quick movements leave no hints, and I look over and there is this thing the size of a forearm. I tilt my head, mouth open, almost in confusion, and turn quickly back to the big rock.
Later, while he reads fairytales to us girls under scratchy blankets in the tiny attic book library that smells moldy paper and dust, and after we step outside into the total darkness to talk, I ask. I can hardly make out the shape of his face. He says yeah, he’s been in adult films and stuff. My eyes are so wide open they sting but it's dark and stary so he can't tell. I tell him I have a crush him. There's no moon anywhere. I feel my insides caving together like a landslide, and I have nothing to do but be quiet, and go back inside. He leaves a few weeks later. Goes back to Portland. He leaves me the battered garden book, as I am head gardener now in his absence, and just as the Honda full of hipsters is backing up, the back door flies open and he runs up the path to me in between rows of lettuce and wild garlic. His river eyes, full of songs. Flannel shirt. “Here,” he says, and I can hear my heart thudding in my throat and he casually hands me a toothbrush, “to clean out the filters on the irrigation,” and then dashes away and I see his face over and over like an echo. I can't quite close my mouth, full of all that disappointment, so I sit down in the dirt and rock a little, feeling the hot sun and thinking of these two that have rejected told me no, him and Ross. Why do I only think of them? And how completely powerless I feel that nothing works. My body doesn’t work. My words don’t work. I don't work. Nothing could bring these beautiful people closer, tighter, and I just sit on the dirt with the defeat and there is absolutely, nothing, to do about it.