I wrote this piece for a memoir class, capturing the intimacy of my friendship with a truly remarkable and quite lovely woman whom I’ve come to know over the past few years. We are thick as thieves and quite wonderful friends. I attempted through this piece which I’ve entitled Tubs to evoke a sense of the sensuality of summer shared between a pair of mischievous and highly inventive confidants.
Naked skin, our feet slapped a staccato sonata from the kitchen linoleum out onto the warm splinters of the patio, gathering the traction of spent pine needles and potting soil, we composed a summer afternoon. Waddling like pregnant women we lifted heavy metal stew-pots low between our spread legs, water breaking over the edges in wasteful swells against our thighs, greasing our path with the foreboding of bruised hips and elbows. Heaving, we poured our liquid cargo, a steaming deluge, with none of the grace employed by geisha, filling our improvised pools to improperly calculated high tide marks, hoping to account for eventual water displacement.
The skin of our hips slid in dry, rubber shudders down the sides of plastic tubs, softened in the sun, bowing outwards, admitting our skinny bodies, the two bins drank us in. The milk-white of our shins hung out over the lips like the forked tongues of garter snakes that bask with open mouths, tasting the vibrations from cicada wings, wind-chimes. Our backs arced forward like hatchlings still molded by an absent shell. We dried downy bodies in the warmth of summer. Two bins, smaller on the inside than they appeared on the outside, smelling like Barbies and the faces of Cabbage Patch Dolls, reminding us that this year we were turning twenty-two.
The key to making the perfect margarita is a foreign concept between twenty-something girls looking to rabble rouse the day away alone in the backyard of a house they won’t enter again after the year is out. After portioning out our swill of Lunazul and limeade into cups suited more to the task of temporarily housing orange ping-pong balls in your friend’s parent’s basement, we swallowed salty summer. With sticky wrists we floated cubic boats of ice on the limey-green seas encased by the red plastic remnants of last month’s party, and effected the color scheme of our very own Christmas in July.
It is an impossible task, knowing every syllable, in every song ever written by Elton John, until you’ve refilled your drink at least three times and your booze soaked brain buzzes with the correct acoustics for understanding that, contrary to a Google search of the lyrics, the line “count the headlights on the highway…” in Tiny Dancer is in fact followed by, “lay me darling she’s so bled-leh.” These truths uncovered amongst the sun-dappled and spotty memories of middle-summer consistently override the pragmatism of colder seasons.
With numb, fumbling fingers, we crack open the cerebral cavities of plastic seahorses and drowned them between our kneecaps like dissatisfied mob bosses of the late twenties. Rapid trails of bubbles screamed up from the hardened plastic bodies as their holy sacrifice performed the brief miracle of temporarily turning water to champagne, before water-logged bellies could hold no more. Raising them like Lazarus from the shallows, we replaced their blue skull-caps and turned our attention to the real criminal, a potted plant sitting a menacing four feet away from our self-proclaimed oases. Its initial crime had fallen into obscurity, but guilt was written all over the waxy leaves hanging open like palms fixed in the posture of a defiant shrug. With less than thirty percent accuracy we aimed streams of water at that offensive succulent, until our eyes had softened pink around the edges, our cups looping drunkenly on the concrete, delineating the circumference of our inebriation with oscillating watermarks.
We remember the moments so differently, clinging to separate spaces of time, though we spent it all together. A juxtaposition of comfortable limbs that remembered each other, folding one around the other after drying off, still cool from the water. Slipping into the bed upstairs to take a nap under one thin sheet that smelled like her skin, and pressing our spines together, the wings of a fleshy moth under a seven o’ clock sun, waiting to wake under cover of darkness, to enjoy the heat of the night as if we were conjoined immortals.