[ed note: This is my favorite story I wrote in high school: not because it is amazingly written, or a wonderful short plot. I love it because when I was young my best friend was a military brat and moved to Mississippi when I was just 12 or 13. Thereafter I would go to see her every summer- by myself! When I think of being young in the summer, I think of Mississippi times. This story just brings everything back for me- I remember that night so vivdly- though most nights ended the same way. Hope you like it <3 ]
“Shhhh, they’ll hear you!”
“They are asleep. Its 3 AM.”
“But they’ll wake up!”
“From one little click?”
“Shhh you, they’ll definitely wake up if you want to get angry about it!”
She threw a pillow at me. I held it against my face to keep from giggling too loudly. It smelled like eucalyptus. Everything in the room smelled of faint eucalyptus and watermelon. It was a pleasant smell- a comforting smell.
The click had come from the window. It clicked each time it was slid open. The air from outside started penetrating the room: hot and sticky, but in a good way. There was a tiny breeze that would blow your hair just a little if you stood the right way, and it always felt amazing.
She went to the nightstand and turned on the stereo very softly. She pushed ‘repeat’ and the CD was spinning.
Round here... We all look the same...
“What good will that do?” I asked.
“It’s... important.” She answered.
“Well are we going? You are letting all the mosquitoes into my room!”
“Fine, lets go. But be quiet!”
We climbed out the window, slowly and carefully. I gasped as my foot brushed a pine cone and she giggled. I took a hair band out of my pocket as she closed the window almost all of the way. I pulled my hair into a sloppy bun at the nape of my neck. It was tangled and dirty, but I just wiped it out of my face without a thought, brushing a mosquito off my shoulder.
“Is it secure?” I asked.
“All systems go,” she replied.
We ran around the side of the house. The sky was covered with a million silver stars and the moon was full, directly above us. The damp grass flirted with my feet as I dodged ant piles. As we walked past the driveway the motion detector lights went of. We squealed; she grabbed my hand and we ran across the yard. My bun slipped out of the elastic band and my hair bounced as we stumbled into the darkness.
We met the road. The rough asphalt was a harsh change from the soft, tickling grass. We continued running for a few strides but stopped when our bare feet began to sting. We then slowed to a nervous walk.
“It’s kinda chilly” I said.
I tugged at my sagging, worn jeans and pulled my tiny camisole tank top over my tummy. “Do you have a hair band? Mine must have fallen out.”
“Nope, sorry, this is the only one I have,” she said, pointing to the mess of almost white-blond hair piled on her head.
Besides our quiet talking, it was almost silent. The bugs were screaming as usual. The mosquitoes were buzzing, like always. The streetlight we were almost under was emitting an annoying bizzzzzz every few seconds. I looked down at my shadow. It dances in front of my on the road. I lifted my hand just to see its bent equivalent.
We reached the end of the road and climbed the rusty gate. Now the road had turned to gravel and my toes creamed at me. “Why didn’t I bring sandals?” I asked aloud, to no one. The serenity was getting to me. I had too much energy to be encompassed with silence. She just laughed as we walked onward, until finally we reached the lake.
“Come sit on the pier,” she said. She motioned for me to join her by the water. It was very still, as if I could have stood still on the gentle waves. I sat down.
“Did you bring the oreos?” I asked.
“Yup! Here,” she handed me a few. “Ask a question.”
“You first,” I said, adjusting my legs under my body.
“Sure. Ok, if the cream is on the right side of the cookie then I am going to meet the man of my dreams in the next fifteen days. If it is on the left side I’ll be marrying that guy from McDonalds when I’m forty.” She twisted and discovered the cream filling on the left side.
I laughed. “I’ll still be your maid of honor,” I said.
“Come on, lets go swimming.”
“Are you sure its not cold?” I ate an oreo and dangled my fingers over the top of the water.
“Of course it isn’t cold, it was like 200 degrees today! Lets go!” she squeaked.
We stood up, slid off our clothes, and jumped in the water. A million bubbles floated around me as I swam to the surface. I looked around for her. “You’re right, it feels good,” I admitted. She splashed me with the murky water. “Hey! Don’t get my jeans wet on the pier,” I said.
“They’re going to get wet when you put them back on anyway, unless you plan on walking back without them.” She laughed and dipped under the water. I waved my arms to stay afloat and eyed my surroundings. The lake seemed so much larger once inside it. A house far across the water had a light on in an upstairs room and it glowed yellow through the glass. I could hear a few cars zooming by on the road just past the trees.
Everything felt, and smelled, like summer.
I climbed out of the lake, pulled on my tank top and underpants, and stretched out on the pier. “Getting out so soon?” she called out from the water.
“I’m going to take your clothes and run!” I mocked, as I gently lifted then set down the heap of fabric splayed next to me. “What day is it?” I asked.
“Well, technically it is Friday,” she said, swimming closer to me.
“Oh, yeah. What time is it?”
“I dunno, look at my watch.”
I shifted her pile of clothes and a watched fell onto the pier. 4.32. I called out to her: “Are you tired?”
“No! I could do anything right now!”
“Okay, lets go to
,” I suggested. Italy
,” she said as she climbed out of the water. “We can get cheap tequila there.” No- Mexico
“Eww I don’t even like tequila.” I squinted my nose.
“Yeah, well, you aren’t supposed to like it. If the frosting is on the right, we go to
. If it is on the left, then its Italy .” She stuck an oreo in her mouth as she pulled on her Old Navy jeans and then twisted the cookie. Mexico
“Guess I better get used to tequila,” was my defeated reply.
She tugged at her hair as I zipped up my jeans and then we began to walk back to the house. We took our time, to dry off as much as possible in the night air. For a few steps we both left faint footsteps on the road behind us. By the time we reached the window we were both fighting a losing battle with drowsiness.
I yawned. “What do you want to do now?” I climbed over the windowsill. “Tired?”
“No, you?” she replied.
“Not at all. Lets play cards.”
The cards had already been sprawled out on the bed and we joined them. The blankets smelled like eucalyptus. We both slid asleep, with the CD player still spinning:
Round here.... something radiates...