That summer, time was as thick as the air. Minutes stuck to our skin, slowly melting off with our sweat. A crescent moon hung in the clear blue sky, taunting us with the promise of a nighttime breeze. It was too hot to hold hands, so we walked silently beside each other. The road was littered with Styrofoam cups and animal bones, and I wondered if that was what I looked like on the inside.
I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe, and the space between us widened. In that emptiness, I noticed the cicadas, which chirped like the second hand on a loud watch. I quickened my pace to catch up, realizing that we had been walking to the beat of the cicadas. It felt good to move faster, to escape their rhythmic pull.
The road bent to the left, and at last, the lake was visible. We broke into a run, our shoulders bumping against each other as we moved.
Stumbling to a halt, we arrived at the bottom of the tree. Together, we scaled it, but our bodies had grown, and the tree had not, and we had to get used to the new footing. Finally, we reached the top, and we sat for a moment, catching our breaths. We grabbed each other’s hands, and with only a nod, jumped. For a moment, the cicadas stopped.
Then, we were enveloped by water so cool that it wicked the time off our skin and we were somehow lighter. For a moment, it felt like we would never return. But we did. We swam because our bodies demanded it, and when we reached the surface, we gasped and wiped our faces and opened our eyes.
Laura Michael is a rising senior in Yale College. She’s a Statistics and Data Science major but loves to write in her free time. Each week, she shares her work with her friends through her newsletter, “Weekly Themes.” You can subscribe at https://tinyletter.com/Weekly_Themes.