Archive for the ‘2010 — 2.2 (Spring)’ Category

Sleeping Sun


28 Apr

Sleeping Sun

By Andrew Colantuono

Andrew writes:  “I was born and raised in Englewood Fl. my whole life. I have taken up photography as a small hobby of mine along with scuba diving, hiking, and kayaking. So I naturally love taking pictures of nature and landscapes which all of my submissions are. I am attending SCF to earn some basic classes to transfer to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a Bachelors in Aeronautical Science, and save money by taking the classes at SCF. This is my last semester and I plan on joining the air force as a pilot when I graduate from ERAU.”

Reflections


28 Apr

reflections

By Andrew Colantuono

Andrew writes:  “I was born and raised in Englewood Fl. my whole life. I have taken up photography as a small hobby of mine along with scuba diving, hiking, and kayaking. So I naturally love taking pictures of nature and landscapes which all of my submissions are. I am attending SCF to earn some basic classes to transfer to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a Bachelors in Aeronautical Science, and save money by taking the classes at SCF. This is my last semester and I plan on joining the air force as a pilot when I graduate from ERAU.”

Beautiful Imperfections


28 Apr

print pictures 003

By Tatyana Sumakova

Tatyana Sumakova is a student at the State College of Florida.

Remember Your Brother


28 Apr

by William B. Graydon

We knew the world would not be the same. A few People laughed, a few
people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I suppose we all that, one way or another.
– J. Robert Oppenheimer

I was in the bathroom, attempting to be extremely quiet. I didn’t want Jake, my husband, to hear me. After the litmus paper changed color, I looked in the mirror. A somber portrait of my likeness leered at me. I was pregnant. I knew that I would have to tell Jake, but that wasn’t the problem. Once Jake knew, he would insist that I have the baby tested.

“Ginny,” Jake knocked on the bathroom door, “everything alright?”

Quickly, I gathered the home pregnancy test supplies, and threw them in the trash can. I grabbed several tissues and placed them over the pregnancy test remnants. I opened the door.

“Yeah,” I just had a piece of steak stuck between my teeth, took me forever to get it out.”

“Oh,” Jake turned away from me, and walked back toward the bed, “It’s late, I thought something was wrong.”

“No,” I turned off the bathroom light, “sorry I worried you.” I joined him in bed, pulled the cover over me, and glanced toward the bathroom. I’ve got to tell him. Maybe tomorrow.

I didn’t sleep much, so I was up a five am. I made coffee, the weak, disgusting way Jake liked it. After the coffee was done, I poured a cup and added a spoon full of instant coffee so that it actually had flavor. At the kitchen table, I sat quietly, holding the cup with both hands, waiting for it to cool. While I sat, in the dark, I fooled myself into thinking that I could feel my baby kicking. That’s why I didn’t drink any coffee. I had heard caffeine was bad. So I just sat there, holding the coffee cup, like it was an anchor, binding me to the kitchen table, because if I let go, I’d float away. Far away, and I wasn’t sure of the place I’d end up in.

Jake came into the kitchen, and before speaking or looking at me, he poured a cup of coffee. After taking his first sip, he joined me at the table.

“You were up early” Jake said, taking another sip of his coffee.

“I’m pregnant.”

I wanted him to choke on the coffee he had just sipped, but he didn’t. He calmly placed his coffee cup on the table.

“That’s great,” he stood up “that’s just great, when did you find out?”

“Last night.”

“Ah, that’s why you were in the bathroom, right?” Jake returned to his seat.
“Yup. ” I took sip of ice cold coffee. “That’s why.”

Any minute now, I thought.

“Well, thank god for science. You can have the test, and we won’t have to worry about having any queer kids,” Jake sipped more coffee, “I love the way you make coffee.” Then he sat back in his chair, and smiled.

“Happy to soon be a father?” I asked.

“Yup,” Jake said, then stood from his seat, and came to me. He placed my face in his hands, and kissed me, “I have to get ready for work.” Jake left the kitchen, while I continued grasping my coffee cup.

#

About twenty years before Ginny and Jake married, a scientist in Oslo discovered what would become to be known as the “Gay Gene.” The discovery, at first, was a godsend for the gay and lesbian community. At last, they could all say, without a doubt: “I didn’t choose to be gay.” This platform soon vanished. The science used to the discover the gene, was also used to destroy the gene. Parents, free to have their unborn children genotyped were able to decide: keep or terminate. Don’t like red hair: boot ‘em. Going to be short: no way. Down syndrome: are you kidding me? Autistic: no thanks Rain Man. Homosexual: over my dead body.

That’s how it happened, and not slowly. It was like gardening. If the plant doesn’t look right, grab it from the roots, pull it out, and plant another. It was considered to be advancement. Thank god for science.

I was still in my nightgown when Jake came home, and I was still sitting at the kitchen table.

“What the hell’s going on Gin” Jake asked, sitting across from me.

“I don’t want to have the test,” I said, holding my coffee cup, “I don’t care if our child’s gay, straight, blind, deaf, or whatever.”

“Oh God,” Jake covered his face with his hands, “Ginny, don’t you remember your brother?”

You asshole, I knew you were going to bring that up. I let go of the coffee cup, and placed my hands on the outer edges of the kitchen table, and leaned forward, “Jake, I know my brother was killed because he was gay. That was almost twenty years ago.”

“Ginny,” Jake got up from his chair, and walked toward me, attempting to put his hand on my shoulder.

“Don’t touch me,” I stood, for the first time all day, feeling a bit faint, “just because it’s considered safe, clean, and not murder, doesn’t make it right.”

“Ginny, what the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about killing unborn kids!” I grabbed my coffee cup, walked to the sink and poured out the coffee.

“Ginny,” Jake said, walking toward me.

“Please,” I turned to face him, creating an imaginary boundary between us, “don’t say anything, and don’t touch me.”

“Gin, I’m sorry. It’s just that bringing a gay kid into a world that doesn’t want them doesn’t make sense to me. Why would you want our child to live a life of turmoil and violence? Hell, Gin, since they discovered this gay gene there’s hardly any gay people left. If our child was to be gay, he, or she would be practically alone. I don’t want that for our child. And we can stop that from happening, you can have the baby tested.”

“I didn’t know you were a baker,” I said, folding my arms across my chest.

“What?”

“I’ve never heard someone sugarcoat bigotry so well.”

He looked alarmed, shattered, and unglued. As I watched Jake shrink away from me, I realized why I married him; because he looked so damn cute, and was now only a mere fixture in my life, like he always was. Choosing husbands was not the same as picking fabric, curtains, or dishes. Those things you toss away. Husbands linger, even if you leave them.

I fought crying, with every ounce of my lacking- independence, but it happened. Then it started, my right upper lip curling upward, my breath becoming sporadic, my face contorting in unnatural composures, and soon, my face was soaked.

“Ginny.” Jake attempted to hug me.

“Don’t,” I turned away from him, “I need to be alone.”

He left me, alone in the kitchen, while I stood at the kitchen sink. My tears stopped, and I wondered if they had only begun because I wanted him to leave, knowing that Jake couldn’t deal with emotional turmoil. After standing by the kitchen sink for about twenty minutes, I decided to finally shower and change. I left the kitchen, not looking in the living room, because I knew I would see Jake, plopped on the couch, watching the latest USA RAW wrestling match.

While I showered, the warm water reminded me of the hot bath I took after my father told me my brother Max had been killed. Max and I were two years apart, he was older. He was 15 when he died by the hands of fellow adolescents, when we lived in Utah. Max, had just begun to realize his sexual identity, and at the time, it was almost like being from outer-space, sort of like the sounds Jimmy Hendrix could make from his guitar, extraterrestrial, and electrifying. Unfortunately, Max wasn’t a superstar. Max was only a gay 15 year old, and that’s what killed him.

“Ginny,” My father said, walking into my bedroom, “Max is dead.”

I began to ask him what happened. All the who’s, why’s and what’s, but he would not tell me anything, only that my brother was gone. Two days later, I read about it in the newspaper. Max had been castrated. His castrated penis had been covered with super-glue, and shoved into his mouth, and his nostrils had been taped shut with duct tape. It remained undetermined what killed my brother, loss of blood, or suffocation. The teenagers accused of the crime were never convicted. Thank god for justice.

I shut off the water, and opened the shower curtain. Once I stepped outside the tub, I was mildly alarmed by the lack of sound from downstairs. Jake always blasted the sound from the television. It was silent. I quickly dried myself, robed, and went downstairs.

The television was off, his beer bottle was still on the coffee table, and when I looked out the window, I noticed his car was gone. For the first time, since I learned I was pregnant, I smiled. I placed both hands on my stomach, turned away from the window, and glanced at the photograph of my brother Max. Maybe the both of us can stop this, I thought as I picked up Jake’s empty beer bottle, and walked into the kitchen, knowing my anchor was waiting; waiting to hold me down.

#

I did have the test. My son was going to be gay. Jake attempted to pressure me into terminating the pregnancy. I refused.

“Well, I can’t be a part of this.” Jake told me, the last time we spent the night together in the same house. I haven’t seen, or heard from him in eight months.

My son is due in about thirty days. I’m a bit heavy now, and my ankles are swelling like Hindenburg sized balloons. Despite my extra weight, I’m floating, because I let go of that damn coffee cup, my anchor. I can’t wait to discover the place my son and I end up in. There’s something magic about floating upstream. I think that’s what keeps all of us, as a whole, from drowning.

Bill Graydon:  Age 36, New England Native, have lived in Florida for the past six years.  Served eight years in the Military, and finally cashing in on the GI Bill.  Planning on Graduating in Dec 2010!  I care deeply about social issue that impact the harmonization of our society, thus I also attempt to insert some bit of a social commentary in any piece of fiction I write.

My Brother’s Masculinity


28 Apr

by Grant Kayashima

The door slammed, the sound reverberated throughout the household. I knew what that meant, mother was away. This was my chance, I told myself. This is my only chance. I stole myself away to my brother’s dwellings. He’s asleep, good. Brother had always been a hard sleeper. Once when the house was on fire due to mother’s wondrous cooking lessons for father. During this time, even with the fire alarms buzzing and the fire engines, brother never stirred. I gazed at him though, lovingly. I would never be able to get him to understand my feelings. They are too complex. But now, now is my chance. This moment is just for me. I came in as though it were natural. But why not, I live in this house, why shouldn’t I be allowed in? Making my way to his bed I found what I wanted; my brother’s masculinity, the object of my desire. I gazed at it for a few moments. After some time I built up some courage. To hell with dignity, this time is for me and for me alone. I touched it. I quivered with anticipation. Would I continue, or would I stop? I must continue, I’ve gone too far to turn back, I had soiled it with my hands and that was the way life now was. Grabbing it, I uncovered it from its wrapping; it seemed to gleam in the sunlight from the window. I stroked it some more, and quivered once more. How exciting! I am stroking the form of my brother’s masculinity right here in his very room. Would I be caught? I feel like an exhibitionist hiding from people in a restaurant. Once again, I can’t stop, my hands wouldn’t let me. I gave in and brought it to my breast, cradling as though to protect it from predators. Holding it, I felt sad, it was still sheathed. Why? Why must it be contained in yet another wrapping? So I unsheathed it. Be free my object of desire, show the world what you are and be free! I gazed at its new look, how strange, it looks so differently now. How perverse I am. I stared some more and random thoughts seemed whisk by internally. I wondered what it tastes like. What a strange thought, but I decided to humor my thoughts and gave it a lick. How strange, nothing. It must have been cleaned before brother went to bed, there’s no other explanation right? Just then I heard the front door open, it had to be father coming home. I must hurry, I returned my beloved object to its resting place, covered and concealed like always. I mustn’t let anyone, least of all my brother, know I was here. Quickly, I walked to the door and slipped out, looking back once more from the doorway. The item of my desire was now in the shade. I smirked. Turning away, I gently shut the door. One day, I too will have my very own sword.

Grant Kayashima is a student at the State College of Florida.

Double Abecedarian: Adam’s Eve


28 Apr

By William Graydon

Adam was all the buzz

Being new and all, drunk silly

Cast as Eden’s first FOX

Devouring leafy greens, avoiding fruit god would not allow

Evolving, discovering, mastering improv

Feeling things that felt too good, but painted a snafu

Growing, with no place to unload, spat

Hollow with suffering, from unknown loneliness

Incarcerated as a single voice, his jaw ajar

Jesting upward, and then, as if on cue

Kneeling, extracting a rib, POP

Laying it in the caldron God’s olio

Managing to drift asleep, while still being ashen

Nudged, suddenly, by Eve’s bosom

Opened mouthed, like a feral Jackal

Pushing inward, with a solid red brick

Quickly, and violently, like a rogue Blue-Jay

Robbing the Robins from ever seeing sky

Swimming in a double standard myth

Tossing women, forever, in the brig

Unwarranted, being clad, now breaking off

Veering toward the greatest lie

Warping human mind

Xeroxing a deceiving sea

You, Eve, were falsely slain on the slab

Zealots continue to hammer, while you brilliantly sway

Bill Graydon: Age 36, New England Native, have lived in Florida for the past six years. Served eight years in the Military, and finally cashing in on the GI Bill. Planning on Graduating in Dec 2010! I care deeply about social issue that impact the harmonization of our society, thus I also attempt to insert some bit of a social commentary in any piece of fiction I write.

Talk Nerdy to Me


28 Apr

by A. J. Haviaras

Talk Nerdy to Me

Talk nerdy to me

And I will talk nerdy to you

You can tank and spank me

Come ride my epic mount

Grind all your levels with me

I will be your ling if you be my overlord

Don’t zerg my pylon

Take your time, no rushing

Talk nerdy to me

And I will talk nerdy to you

Mario had the right idea

Get the mushroom, super size for the princess

Just gotta ride my Yoshi

You can be my master hand

Sure, just super smash

Or my Kirby, inhale me again and again

Talk nerdy to me

And I will talk nerdy to you

Help me now, my Orihime

Control my Raiestu

Together we can achieve Bankai

Or make it a Fairy Tail

Can you be my dragonslayer

I am your S ranked mission

So talk nerdy to me, my dear

And I will talk nerdy to you, just be a nerd for me

A.J. writes:  “I am Anthony Joseph Haviaras, commonly known as AJ. I am an aspiring author who receives much of interest from video games and Fantasy/Science Fiction Novels as well as movies. I am currently a student at SCF majoring in English and been taking many of the literature and creative writing classes it has to offer hoping to improve and better myself as an author. I am hoping that my stories can entertain my readers as well as cause them to consider the deeper meanings beneath the surface, and as long as I accomplish that I will continue to write for those who are willing to read it.”

Auction


28 Apr

by P. J. German

She danced like the sun bounced off the waves of an ocean. I could not believe my eyes when I saw her. Sure, I was in a strip club and her being naked made her look all the more attractive, but her moves grabbed my attention. She was good looking, but not the best in the joint. She had a nice rack, but the not the best. Her ass was tight and bubbly, but not the tightest or bubbliest – maybe the bubbliest. You get the picture. I really was focused on her dancing. The way she moved got to me, so I threw her some money, letting her know I was interested in her.

So did the guy across the walk from me. She turned around bending over in front of me, moving me in a way I wasn’t moved until now. I threw more money down and suddenly I found myself in an auction with the guy.

This girl seemed to love being auctioned over. Every time she bent over to retrieve my money, she would stare into my eyes. Her ice blue eyes drew me in long after she had turned to retrieve money from my opponent. At that point, I found myself moving from her eyes as she turned, down her neck, across her chest, to her – by the far the sexiest in the joint – belly button, to her thin pussy, to her ass as she turned around, and finally back to her pussy as she bent over. She moved slowly, so slow I could tell she was encouraging my behavior, and at the same time, saying, ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk… You naughty boy.’ It was he who laid the last bill down – out bidding me. He was ugly. She knew it. I was not. She turned to me and began to focus her dancing on me. She wanted more money, but I knew I had her hooked on me, and she knew she had me.

When the song had finished, she walked down the steps from the stage, over to my seat and asked if I wanted a dance. I slipped her a twenty and began to dance over me. As she danced, she proceeded to climb on my chair, reach down the side of it and pulled the lever, forcing me into a reclining position while she continued to move smoothly like waves. I glanced over to my opponent who I had humiliated moments before in a way only Al Gore could understand, and his glare caught my attention. His eyes were narrowed, his brow furrowed. I could only imagine the things he envisioned inside his head…

A punch in my gut… a right hook across my temple. Thrusting a hard knee into my nuts, then a heavy uppercut on my nose as I bent over, writhing in pain. Maybe pull a knife out and scare me, or better yet, stab me for extra fun… a gun might work. A blow torch would do the trick really. Press the trigger and watch me light up and burn… start running around in pain like a beheaded chicken. Beheaded? A machete through the neck… a grenade down the throat… Chinese torture tactics…

Quickly, though, my attention was brought back to the girl as she began to run her body against mine, something they are not supposed to do at this joint. I whispered in her ear how much I enjoyed her, and she whispered back how much she wanted me. That’s when she sat on my leg and slid herself up me. From the heat emanating from her onto my leg, I knew she was telling me the truth.

When the song stopped, she whispered in my ear to meet her out back in five minutes when she was scheduled to clock out. As she walked away, I could not help but check her out some more, then glance at my leg – my pants a little damp from where she was – and back to the loser.

He was gone.

Probably embarrassed.

I got up, not caring about what I was advertising, and retreated to the bathroom. I stood before the mirror, washed my face, and imagined what was about to happen in the backseat of my car. Just as I was about to leave the bathroom, a loud, piercing siren echoed through the room as the sprinklers overhead turned on and soaked me. I ran out and saw dozens of people panicking despite there was no sign of fire. The enemy was pushing his way through the crowd. I would like to say I was truly being a hero when I held the door open for everyone; but in all honesty, I only wanted to make sure the girl was safe.

She never came out.

Just as I was about to go look for her, I was pulled out of the building by the manager. I ran to the back of the building to see if she was there.

I couldn’t find her.

There was a car steamed up, rocking.

I knew what was going on inside the car, and it turned me on. It made me think of what I wanted to do with the girl. I wanted a teaser before I met her, something to warm me up some more after the dance. I approached it. The excitement of watching live porn built up inside of me as I approached the car. I touched the back of the car, dragged my finger along the side and stopped in front of the window. I ran my finger up the door, then down the foggy window. I placed my other hand under the handle and left it there. When my finger reached half way down the window, a hand from inside slammed against the window leaving a clean streak in the steam as we slid down the window together. For some reason, I felt like I knew that hand – as though that hand has touched me before. I knelt down in the gravel parking lot, leaned against the window, and peered inside the dark vehicle. The top of two heads looked back at me. I traced the hand that ran with mine down the window to the owner. Just as I found the sweaty chest, her head tilted back as she let out a soft and pleasurable moan. Our eyes met, and I was locked. It was the girl’s. We looked at our hands – still pressed against the glass. When I looked back to her eyes, I noticed the guy she was with leaned up a little. I looked at his face, and staring at the girl – and somehow, tauntingly at me – was my opponent.

PJ German – former editor in chief for two semesters and current student advisor of Elektraphrog, president of Swamp Scribes, student blogger for the SCF website, and teacher aid in the English lab – does much more writing than he has time for. He is graduating in 2010 with his A.A., and will attend USF in the fall to continue his education in English.

A Kiss


28 Apr

by Michelle Schwabach

More than just a kiss when it’s

The kiss that a young women gives to her husband on her wedding day

The kiss she gives her husband goodbye as he heads off to war

The kiss she gives her new born baby boy for the first time

The kiss she gives her husband as he returns from war

The kiss he gives his son for the first time

The kiss that together the parents give there son as he heads off to start his first day of school

Finally a kiss is more than just a kiss when a mother and a father kiss there son goodbye, as he now heads off to war

About Michelle:  “My name is Michele and I am Married with two kids. I have lived here in Florida all of my life and enjoy spending time boating with my family. This has been a very long and cold winter and we are ready to get out on the water as soon as it warms up. I have spent the past seven years selling real estate. After the downturn of the economy and a major drop in business I decided to return to school. This has been quite a challenge for me as I am now 38 years old and have a lot of responsibility as a mom. Though I do enjoy the challenge.”

Not Forgotten


28 Apr

by Taylor Meredith

I’m your twinkle twinkle little star, that sparkling bit of light high up in the sky, the bitch always at your beck and call. The other stars are giggling behind my back. Jupiter’s many moons are congregating by the Milky Way, gossiping. They think it’s sad but oh-so-funny how I’ve pined over you, only to be treated like your servant in return. Why don’t you ever ask me how I’m doing? Ask me what I want? My sole purpose in this galaxy is not to make your life easier, you know. I have my own dreams. But who’s going to grant my wishes? Not you, of course. You’re too busy fluttering your eyelashes at that slut down the street. You never look at me the way you look at her. When you look at me, it’s only because you want something. No matter how bright I shine myself for you, you only look long enough to make a request, like I’m a damn music DJ on a radio station. Then as soon as you think you’re going to get what you want, you turn your attention elsewhere.

Well just remember this, baby. Love is war. And I’ve got the entire sky on my side.

#

I remember the first time you made a wish on me. You gazed up into this inky blackness, and I could feel your eyes on me, opening wide with wonder. Those were the days when you appreciated my beauty, when I wasn’t just another speck above you. Back then you had never seen a star so bright, and even though you were just a boy, I was flattered by your admiration.

You recited a poem, you know the one. “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.” It usually drives me crazy when people do that. Most people whisper so quietly that I can barely hear them. I want to scream, “Speak up, dammit! I’m really far away, you know! Like, millions of miles, hello!” But still, they continue to whisper and I have to strain to hear them. I usually end up neglecting those people’s wishes. If they wanted it bad enough, they’d throw their heads back and scream it up to me, right?

Well that’s what you did. I didn’t expect such a loud voice to come out of such a small kid, especially one as timid looking as you. I thought you’d squeeze your eyes shut and speak under your baby breath. But no, you kept your eyes open and focused so intently on me that I began to feel a little self conscience under your cemented gaze. You opened your mouth and roared up into this open space, the voice of a lion coming out of a cub. You asked me to help your mom, to make it so she’s stop crying so much at night. She’d lost her mother six months before and was in a seemingly never-ending grieving spiral. You just wanted her to be happy again, you told me it made you sad to see her cry. It’s not often I have people wishing for other people’s happiness. You were such a little boy, making such a selfless wish. I knew then that you were different.

This continued for years, you coming out at night and looking up into the world above you. You always found me immediately. You didn’t need to search through the stars like you would shells on a beach, trying to find a good one. No, you always found me right away, and I was always waiting. Night after night, a different wish. You never had to repeat the same one twice because I was always quick to give you what you asked. You never said thank you, but I knew you appreciated it. The way you held onto me with your eyes, even after your wish was granted. I knew you loved me as I had begun to love you.

#

Now eight years later and she’s come along, that bouncy blonde down the street. The other stars warned me, told me you’d forget to look up into the sky every night. They said you’d find her far more interesting. Of course I laughed at first, told them they were crazy. You’d never forget me, never forget to look into the sky. And for a while I was right. Despite her presence you were as attentive as ever, always finding time once the sun set to come out and bend your head back at me. There were nights you wouldn’t even ask anything of me, you’d just stare, and I would feel a chill run through me. Then you’d turn and go back inside, and I’d feel like cozy for the rest of the night, content in the warmth you’d created around me.

Then came the night when you walked outside with translucent skin, the love within you vivid, bright. I could have died with happiness right then, stupidly thinking the love stamped on your face was for me.

You said to me, “I want Rachel to love me back.”

Time stopped. Even the melting clocks in Dali’s painting stopped mid-drip. The universe and all the hidden galaxies within it froze. Your words were a camera flash, sealing that moment forever. And my heart (yes, even stars have hearts) wasn’t broken. No. It was annihilated.

#

So now here I am, forced to watch the two of you, you and Rachel (I hate that name, I hate her, hate her.) Her blonde hair’s always glowing in a silver sheen, like silk thread reflecting the moonlight.

Right now the two of you are directly below me, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were trying to taunt me, flaunting your newfound love right beneath me, like I’m a cross hanging above your bed. I don’t know how you got her to love you back. It certainly wasn’t a wish I granted. In fact it was the first wish you ever made that I didn’t grant.

You’re both sitting on the hood of your car, side by side, elbows touching. You’re sharing a can of something, I can’t quite see from here. It’s probably beer and she’ll no doubt pretend to be drunk after just a few sips. I can tell she’s that kind of girl. You’re telling her a joke, something that isn’t quite funny, but she laughs anyway, giving herself an excuse to touch your arm and lean into you. I feel nauseated by the pleasure that creeps into your lips, all from a simple touch. Is she really that special?

My light’s been consistently fading over the past couple weeks, and at this moment I can feel it dimming even more. I’m no longer the brightest star in the sky, no longer a star in love. If you were to look up, you’d have to squint to see me. I’m hidden now, the apple behind the leaves, the wedding ring buried in the snow and forgotten.

#

I’ve got a plan. It’s not a nice plan, but oh such a good plan. The other stars are helping me. They even got the moon to join in. He controls the tides, you see. It’s really quite the magic trick.

You and Rachel are at the beach. I overheard you two talking last night, planning, deciding to sneak out after dark when your parents wouldn’t be up to interfere. The moon is full and strong, lighting up the entire shore, reflecting off the gentle movement of the waves. It’s beautiful, serene. All we stars are trembling with excitement. We’ve got front row tickets, but unfortunately no popcorn.

You’re the only two out there, laughing into your hands as you move sluggishly through the sand, like two kids sneaking into a toy store after closing. You stop a few feet from the shoreline, and Rachel lifts up her arms. You pull her shirt up over her head, and she does the same for you. Then you’re kicking off your shorts, throwing them into a pile with your other discarded clothes. She goes first, screaming giddily as the cold ocean water washes up around her naked body. You’re laughing, enjoying the sight of her. You don’t follow right away, but rather stand where you are, watching her as she wades farther away from shore, the silhouette of a mermaid.

When she’s far enough away, too far to simply splash back to shore, I give the signal and the moon nods at me. He controls the tides, remember. Lovers are at is at his mercy now.

The sweet calm of the ocean begins its gradual descent into madness. The tides turn, moving outward now. They rise a little higher each time, so slowly that neither of you notice at first. Rachel lets her body be carried a foot or two, rising and dipping. She laughs, thinking it’s fun. You smile and decide to join her, taking a few steps into the water. I give another signal and the stars around me begin to light up, one after the other, brighter and brighter, drawing your attention. You crane your neck and stare up at us as we glow like little balls of fire, an intense light you’ve never seen before. You watch, mesmerized.

You don’t notice the waves as they get higher and a little stronger; Rachel’s body is weightless under the surface of the water. She’s carried another two feet away from shore. All laughter has seized now, and she’s looking towards you with a blooming panic in her eyes. She tries to call your name but her mouth fills with water, silencing her. Up here we continue to glow, dimming only slightly just to brighten again like the twinkling lights on a Christmas tree. Again and again, and all the while Rachel continues to lose control in the inky black ocean below.

Finally she is able to lift her chin just high enough to scream to you. Her voice startles you back to your surroundings. You whip around and see her bobbing helplessly, so much farther out than she was originally.

“Rachel!” You yell to her, a tremble snaking through your limbs. “Rachel, swim back to shore now, OK? It’s getting a little wild out there.”

“I can’t” She’s trying to swim back, kicking her arms and legs but getting nowhere. She’s walking downwards on an escalator going up. She’s stuck.

Her arms and legs tire and go limp as she tries to catch her breath. Another wave swoops in then, crashing overtop her.

“Rachel!” She can’t hear you with her head submerged. She reappears a few seconds later, sputtering, gasping. She tries to yell your name but the water’s moving too fast around her, washing in and out of her mouth, drowning her words. She tries to raise her arms, to wave them, thinking that will somehow save her. Another wave collapses over her.

Now you’re running, splashing clumsily into the water, kicking and flailing your arms. Your body vanishes under the storming water, and then appears again father out. You’re moving quickly with the tide, your body being pulled outward toward Rachel. The two of you meet faster than I expected. You find her easily, the way you used to find me.

She’s crying now, not even a drop in that huge ocean. She clings to you, her arms tight around your neck. It’s useless, but you try to swim back. The two of you are powerless, being rocked and thrown, sinking and then coming up, only to sink again. Yet you never let go of each other.

A wave, the tallest yet, falls like a building, and the two of you are under for so long that I think you may not come back up at all this time. I imagine you spiraling under the surface, your twisted bodies moving like a bullet towards the ocean floor.

#

I look into your eyes, breathless. I have never seen you so close up. I see the scattering of freckles over your nose, like chocolate chips against your pale, glistening skin. So this is what it’s like to breathe the air you breathe, so close to your mouth. I had only imagined it before now.

“Rachel.” You grip the sides of my head, staring into my eyes with a panic that wants to be relieved. “Are you OK? Are you? Say something, please.”

Right. My name is Rachel now. There are a lot of things I have to get used to. I’m not up there anymore. I’m down here, a person, a body.

“I’m fine.” I say, my voice unfamiliar in my ears. I’ve heard Rachel speak before, but hearing the voice come from me sounds completely different.

You pull me towards you, my forehead against your wet chest, our naked bodies textured in sand. “Thank God. Thank God.” You rock us back and forth and I know I should feel cold, but I don’t. I’m the warmest I’ve ever been.

You won’t forget me now.

I won’t let you.

Taylor Meredith, twenty-one, originally from Richmond, California. Now living in North Port Florida, attending SCF with plans of transferring to FSU in the hopes of eventually getting a bachelor or masters degree in creative writing. During downtime, enjoys reading and taking photos.