So Much Water.

In the chilly August evening, my friend and I swim after dinner, while our families kick sand on the beach. We swim into the sunset, and I’m on the verge of shivering before we hit the ropes that mark off the swimming area.

When we return, the beach has been emptied of everyone except our families, and a little girl who wanders, eating from a bag of potato chips while her mother reads a tablet. The breeze raises goosebumps on my skin, and I pull clothes over my wet swimming suit.

I ride home with my youngest, the seat warmer toasty, the car’s windows filled with the sunset’s iridescent strawberry.

She wants me to trust her driving. Because I am me, I feel all around us the coldness of autumn creeping in, and how that cold whispers its own story. This evening, though, I lean back in her car, my bare feet shedding sand on her floor, and let her drive.

A half moon rises over the hillside, the pearl color of shell’s interior.

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?”

— Jack Kerouac
Greensboro, VT

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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