Midnight lightning strikes, its violent thundersong hurting the sky. Sleep doesn’t settle in storms, memories pouring loud and insistent as the rain outside:
Peaks Island, Maine. Three different years merged. Sliding out of our car on the ferry to shimmy between packed mirrors and doors. The air feels new after a long drive breathing in circulated stagnance, so we’d race to the upper deck, stand at the bow, and dare the wind to blow us sideways, hair whipping around our baseball caps. (Go Sea Dogs!) I was not yet in double digits then, collecting plastic animal charms served on the rim of foaming root beers beside lobster rolls on buttered buns (golden, please). Once fed, we’d ride our bikes past cairns—diminutive yet mighty, evidence of visitors-past who cared enough to build an extra guard for the thrashing sea. We’d crawl out on the rocks as far as we could to be a part of it, splashed but out of reach of the greedy current. Sea glass was more exciting when it was blue, but brown and green elicited their own suntanned joy. And seaweed was made into witches’ brew by the pockets of warm water where some shelled creatures scuttled about, muddling their haven murky when discovered. Beach days called for sweets, so we parked at the store that sold penny candy at the entrance and ice cream at the back. Chocolate chip cookie dough, waffle cone, dripping, always, cleaned by licking sides and tops of hands still salty and lotioned. Then we might’ve dashed and leapt off the pier, arms up, (I, half exhilarated, half scared of a shark appearing midair to swallow me in one gulp, but back then I still did it). Cold cocooned before giddy emergence. I’d speed-swim to the ladder, cut my feet on barnacles. The closing affair before ketchup cookouts, braiding friendship bracelets, and reading Jaqueline Wilson was prying stubborn starfish from the docks to toss to the ocean like an offering. To no god, just to being young, to doing without thinking.
(They say life flashes before one’s eyes when dying, and maybe that’s true, but for me, alive, it happens at night or when a phrase, taste, shuttles me back to sometime in summertime when days were wonder-glazed and time was loose as the tide.)
Ashley Brie Myers is currently living out her reclusive writer dreams on a lush mountain in Vermont. Since graduating from Connecticut College last spring, she has self-published both a novella and collection of poetry. Her poems can also be found in the Dewdrop and CouCou Collective. Writing is her one true love, and she hopes to one day make a career out of it.