By August Bennet
When I was very young I went on a day trip with a family I no longer remember: a mom,
dad, and little girl just my age—nameless faces, faceless bodies, all distinctions smudged away
by the fat finger of time.
Save for the exhilarating cool of the water as we jumped off the pier, all I can recall now
is the drive home. The little girl and I piled into the backseat of her parents’ orange van, still
smelling vaguely of lake water and sun.
The ride could have been ten minutes or two hours and it would have made no difference.
Shortly after we departed from the pier, my companion set her head on my shoulder and slept. I
hesitated for just a moment before I let my head fall, cheek pressing to her damp hair. I closed
my eyes, but I didn’t sleep.
I mused that we probably looked perfect like this, a real display of comfort, of love, of
touch. I felt a delicate balance, as if a singular movement would destroy what had been built. As
if we existed in a photograph, still and beautiful and young.
When the adults cooed at us, I didn’t dare move, though a sheet of guilt settled over me.
She slept, her weight heavy and warm against my side, and I held very still.
Before long, the van went over a pothole, and she shifted away, awoken from her rest. I
spent the rest of the ride looking out the window, picking stray grains of sand off my skin.
August Bennet is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where they received a BFA in Writing & Applied Arts and a BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. They have interned as the managing editor and the editor-in-chief of UW-Green Bay’s undergraduate staffed Journal of Art and Literature, Sheepshead Review, during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters respectively. They are a writer interested in gender, the body, horror, and nature, and their poetry appears in Anti-Heroin Chic, Sheepshead Review, and Northern Lights.