mid july 2010 006Seed-pearls of condensation make the glass slippery, dangerous, sly.

I push violet-colored shades up the bridge of my nose where they have been sliding incrementally lower for the past ten minutes. I reach for the tumbler half-full of raspberry Crystal Light, two melting ice-cubes, and a shot of Froggy B vodka. I reach, but the air between my hand and the glass pushes against my skin like a force-field–thick, heavy, invisible. Like the glass, it is slippery with moisture.

Of course it is. Everything is made of the same stuff–isn’t that what they say? Chair. Tumbler. Air. Skin. Simply molecules bumping into each other, and we only intuit the shape?

I let my hand drop, limp, to the side of the lounge-chair. It collides against the rough, pulsing cement. “Damn,” I mutter.

Or maybe I only think it.

My hand moves again toward the rickety, white plastic table, toward my drink. Reaching across infinity, my fingers climb the wet glass, slip against the condensation. Pulling the drink toward my mouth–heavy, so heavy–I feel my tongue already slotting between my lips. Almost, I can taste the sweet, red flavor of the drink. Almost, I can feel the ice cubes bumping against my teeth.

The violet-shaded glasses slide down my nose again. The tumbler slips from my fingers. Drops. Shatters. The sound is muffled in the thick air.

I look down.

Shards of glass. Shards of ice. Red pool of raspberry-flavored vodka drink spreading over the cement. I blink. Imagined shapes. Imagined forms. Imagined boundaries.

I collapse back against the white plastic webbing of the lounge chair. An overweight ten-year old performs a cannonball into the pool and sends a spray of chlorinated water arching through the heavy air. The water hits me, sizzles, dries in seconds against my skin.

Shelley Burbank
May 2014
298 Words


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