by Kat Delghingaro
Listen to the piece below:
You’re walking on a beach with your friend Ed and a stranger but she’s not really a stranger, she goes to the same school as you and you know she’s a nursing student, you know because she told you when you helped pass out condoms to freshmen at the HIV testing both and they flirted with her, complementing her nursing uniform. You never thought you’d be friends with a nurse, you tend to run with artist and actors but she has a cool tattoo of a lion on her arm and now you’re at the beach and she’s complimenting your bathing suit top and you wonder if she means more because your bathing suit top is covering your breasts and that’s the point of a bathing suit top right?
You’re not sure.
Now you’re holding hands and joking about getting married because she’s dressed for the formal party the three of you are attending later and she’s wearing a button down and has a large smile on her face and her hands aren’t sweaty, unlike yours, then you remember that you’re strangers, but then you think who cares? Because summer flings are meant to be just that, except now you’re thinking about after summer and when you both return to school, you’re the same age but she’s a senior and you’re a sophomore and that’s weird right?
You leave Ed to relax in the sun and now she’s wearing a bra and a pair of shorts, you both walk down to the water around the little kids making sandcastles and the parents drinking warm beer. You play in the water the way two people who feel completely comfortable around each other do and people are looking at you because you’re two women who are acting like a couple on their honeymoon and you pretend you’re on you honeymoon, it’s nice and no man has ever made you feel like this, it’s new and you promised yourself adventure and here she is, shivering in the ocean as the water reflects in her eyes.
After that night you never see her again and she leaves with more than the pants she borrowed, you call her a few months later when your dog died and you were at your weakest, but she doesn’t come over, she’s graduated and you’re a junior now and you need to act like it and you make new friends and Ed’s in another country and you don’t go near the nursing building or anywhere near that side of campus, even though you want to try that new wrap place.
Your roommate tells you she left town, and you wonder how your roommate knew her, and there’s a hole in your stomach, a part of you, you never thought she could take and even after a year you look around for her even though she graduated, you still close your eyes when walking the sidewalks, hoping to never catch a glance of her.
You don’t understand because just last summer you wanted nothing more than to spend every moment with her.
You see her in a coffee shop your senior year and her hair is short and she’s wearing a shirt that sorority girls wear and you never thought you’d like a sorority girl, but here she’s is filling the parts of you she took. She tells you where she’s sitting and leaves while you wait for coffee, your best friend leans over and tells you how beautiful she is but you already know, and he doesn’t know about the beach or the honeymoon and you told him everything about that summer but you left her out. And when she looked at you, your heart forced you to remember the fake honeymoon and the summer fling you thought was over and you remember her in her bra, in the ocean pretending to be your wife. And you remember when she picked you up and threw you in the water and the older couple next to you gave her a dirty look and you hoped you’d never grow up to be that sour.
And now you’re walking upstairs with your coffee and she’s on a couch eating tomato basil soup and reading a book and you talk for hours and suddenly your infatuated again, and you know you shouldn’t be but she smiles and there’s a small red stain on the corner of her mouth you want to wipe off but you don’t know if you have permission. Your best friend drinks three cups of coffee and you realize how long you’ve been talking, so you leave her your number and she never calls and you never go back to that café and you wonder when the next time you’ll run into her again and you and your best friend go to the beach, and you hate the smell of salt in the air and you can’t look at the ocean without remembering the girl that stole everything from you and now you’re counting down the days until graduation so you can leave the city.
Kat Delghingaro is a script and non fiction writer. She is a soon to be graduate with a writing degree from Georgia Southern University. She has written and directed a few short films and hopes to continue in the future.