by Barbara McGaughey, Senior, Writing & Linguistics
We haunt the woods every spring.
Taking a sharp left off Chelsea’s street, we walk straight through the trees; the air smells a mix of moss and kudzu, wisteria drops down our backs. We kick out spare asphalt rocks that lodge their way into our sandals, sidestepping poison ivy, our voices getting louder as the neighborhood fades behind us. Chelsea and I check for the rope hanging off the largest oak,from here we go right, deeper through the woods until they open to a clearing. Old, tall wheat-grass sways yellow, running up to the edge of the Ocmulgee river. We lay a blanket down, never worrying that this is impermanent, that the afternoon will end, and the moon will take the sun away. We pretend there isn’t a plant across the river, that the water isn’t turning a little grey; we only smell earth. I wear a stolen bikini, the color of a Fresca can, and we share the earphones of a disc-man. Chelsea’s bathing suit is the color of the adobe windows in Santorini on the calendar in my bedroom. The breeze raises up goosebumps from our necks to our calves, while the sun follows behind and smooths them out. Here, we love ourselves when no one is watching.