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Kiran Gaind What They Did Last Summer
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She couldn’t believe what they did their last summer at the beach. In previous years, she and her siblings stayed close to the house, their mama’s cooking, built sand castles as she read her books closeby. Then, something changed.

Their mother was more distracted, and more sad. Their dad decided not to come last summer, so it was just the four of them. She woke up later, talked less, didn’t cook as much, or want to know what they were up to in the detail they were used to. She seemed behind a grey veil, muffled, struggling with the weight of her depression.

They wanted her to feel better but she wanted to be alone. They met Neil at the corner store and he invited them to the beach to bodyboard and they of course agreed since they wanted to enjoy the shore.

Neil was older than all of them, but not yet an adult. His family owned a local restaurant so his parents were busy working. He was an only child.

He seemed to want to have had siblings, so when the three of them showed up to the store to buy candy, he helped them find what they needed, in the way an older brother might. It seemed to bring him happiness to help them in this way.

They wondered if he had company most days, and when realizing they were it, they wanted to show up and hang out with him. He obviously spent a lot of time in the water, knew the waves intimately, and impressed them with his athleticism on and off the board.

She had never spent this much time being this physical in the ocean. She found herself wanting to keep up with him, yet feeling afraid of the power of the waves. There was something stirring inside of her body that she had never felt before, and noticed it was when she was near him that it got stronger.

She remembered her mom telling her about the changes her body would go through before she started her period, three years ago. The books her mom got her were so embarrassing. She started to notice what she was reading about when she saw movies and read books. How much time people past this stage spent thinking and worrying about this stuff. She didn’t quite get it.

The way her body felt when he was near made her realize it wasn’t crazy. This was how bodies work, including hers. She couldn’t stop it or control it. It made her feel flush and curious. She wondered if he felt this energy in his body, too.

Reading her journal from last summer, she couldn’t believe what they did that night on the beach, with no adults around, just the two of them exploring their kisses, their nakedness, their willingness to let go of innocence, their desire…

Comments

Great work, Kiran—particularly the last few paragraphs. Maybe CC will pair us up again. — Jackie

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