Dusting Herself Off


Ryan Rowe

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 116 in 2008.

I filled the car with gas while Eric and the girls went inside for drinks. Back in the car, Eric said the attendant needed to make sure the car wash was working. We could roll through for free. We smoked a joint going through, laughing and goofing so much we went through a second time. Going to Lydia's, the first rays of the dawn peeked through the darkness.
"Can we use the bar?" Eric asked.
"Do whatever, just don't break anything up," Lydia's voice trailed. Eric sorted bottles. He grabbed Cuervo Gold and Cointreau, pulled a lime from the refrigerator, found a knife to cut it.
Lydia tossed a gram of coke to the countertop, said her parents wouldn't know it was missing. Eric diced lines with a credit card. Lydia took the first sharp hits and we all followed. Luminescent, we exited the sliding glass doors. The good sun was the first thing noticeable, its shine mixing with ours. A rock waterfall into a faux-natural pool came to focus. The entire deck was screened, ficus surrounding. Trees lined the perimeter.
Melissa shed her clothes and jumped in and the rest of us disrobed in a big hurry. Eric did a cannonball and the water was moving about in waves. Lydia was against me. I slipped along her in the water, hardening. She told me to get out of the pool.
"Not in me or on me," she warned, over me.
What could I say? She was caramel colored, with hard tan lines. Her dark brown hair and eyelashes had blonde speckled throughout from exposure to sun. Purpose came as Eric made Melissa. Lydia ground and churned and then went lifeless. I moved under her drastically, saying aloud when. She jumped away, quickly and awkwardly. There was no joy. She went inside without a word. After a few minutes, Melissa went to her.
"What was all that about?" Eric asked me.
"She said not in her or on her."
"What kind of shit?"
"I can't figure."
"You should have let her have it."
"She kind of made sure I couldn't."
Melissa came back, "We have to go."
"What the fuck's the problem?" Eric asked.
"Her boyfriend's coming over. She doesn't want him to know we were here."
"I must've made a hell of an impression," I said.
"It happens whenever she finds out he's cheated."
"We better go."