staying season. by Morghen Tidd

in which she swims through desire:

later he will leave and she will wait but for now she is here floating pinioned to an obnoxiously red foam noodle. the waves move her up and down and back and forth. watches forward leaning back on the noodle five friends on a yellow raft. sun catches the wandering water down the all of them all. she watches the water surrounding her dripping over them. she watches her own eyes wander over an array of makeshift bottoms. like they didn’t know they were going swimming but they did. wet cotton sticks outlines stick out. sun reflects off the waves laughs reflect off the air she feeling the heat of it all all in her black bikini bottoms. wetness and heat the recipe of summer. she gazes they turned and talking the heat of summer in her cheeks while imagined images are outlined clearly. away she looks and then back again the shameful shamelessness and sips of drink fueling her. freckles on bellies. hair trailing into covered spaces of all colors and twists. smiles curved in innocence in prey. pushed front teeth. bodies just being bodies. the space of two of these bodies she has occupied one once and the other ongoing. fevered embrace of goodbye igniting one summer last summer. seasons have a way of bringing loss back just to let go again. wishing they could stay here like this suspended in the water the summer always wishing they could stay. the sounds of bodies submerging themselves in bodies the endless desire and water.

the once one leaps into the lake disappearing as he did last summer water splashing her in the face. to think once implies more she corrects her thoughts. a moment of heat of contact and then gone. the ongoing one follows him this guilty feeling follows her. they are a happy thing she’s not used to being happy not used to being a thing in terms of another an other. to stay in one place and not feel pinioned there. to stay and say here together say flame in throat say shared spit shared bodies words foreign sticky on her tongue.

gaze moves downward through crystal water clear her ghostly toes moving touching nothing.

in which she is in his eyes :

reaching summer night slides its heavy hand of humidity across her body and his too. thighs sticking beneath a black skirt she feels her thong plastered to her ass. smiles half moon she likes his teeth not bright white wine stained like hers. they feel new in this moment they are new in this moment. beneath a tree head on his chest she listens to his voice. biting at her legs mosquitos and the little flies the itch in the morning little hives across her skin. the bartender asked them to leave way past closing time and time spills with ease seated across from him. she thinks the park is probably closed too she thinks she could invite him back to hers but doesn’t. she wants but doesn’t. hands searching for hands touching tentatively lightly as if he thinks as if she thinks one will just be gone in a blink.

later he will tell her that he wrote a poem about this moment. moment of feeling desire spill watery from her mouth invisible in the dark. overflowing and following one another interlacing fingers neither leading walking in unison as if one. a we in earliest formations. into the backseat of his car kissing her nose then both cheeks. a kiss that asks for nothing more that asks for nothing. now he will say he likes just being with her. listening for any hint of lie the sound of a setting trap but there is none to be found. no force or friction in tongue. no oppressive pressing sigh. she is wary like she is prey like too knowing. relaxed in his presence an unexpected find. late or early the digital clock reads 3:37 he with a drive back and places to be in the morning she with an empty apartment outlined in loneliness. reluctant untangling thinking when again.

she leans through the open window

in which she waits & waits:

lying across rough sheets flannel in the summer winters too she crumbles chips dill pickle from bag into her mouth. comfort food though little comfort to be found in such things for her. sheets she refuses to wash in his absence she sleeps on his side of the bed his pillow a memory scent of shampoo sweet cologne lingering behind. a reminder of something shared of something to come back to his body’s shaped pressed into her bed a shape yielding to another shape in its desire. the shadows people leave behind. her home a home made from her loneliness impenetrable walled in with empty wine bottles wheat beers weed. walls uncovered she doesn’t want to make a home from a place she’ll leave. well soon enough. him gone so visits from no one no one comes into her place. without a roommate with one room only herself. lips purpled with wine she showers blowdries her hair forgetting the time forgetting that her walls shared with another’s home. water dripping rolling down her back aware of each drop. naked at the kitchen table curtains drawn all lights on. stands walks around and around the table circling she hums a tune wondering mind wandering to what he’s doing states away visiting family. her own near she doesn’t have to be here be alone and yet.

sounds from the next over startle her from isolation. she presses her hand against the kitchen wall white stained with splatters and follows the rustling to her door. open she could leave drive away move into a shared space but she doesn’t and she won’t. clinking of keys the deadbolt slugging alive to allow them free. watching through the peephole’s eye sight of them bright jackets and all ready to fight the steady rain. sitting on the rugged floor by the door she listens for footsteps sound of squeaking boots moving into a space. soaked carpet slushed with warmth. mind wondering what summer does elsewhere. how many seasons can one survive. the redheaded kids next door scream. slouching down rug drags across her back why not wait here any good as anywhere.

he’ll be back some day but with him gone she can’t even picture his face.

in which she wanders until lost:

wandering through back streets up down then zigzagging across the narrow sidewalks she alone hands hanging swinging either side. the streets unfamiliar but welcoming she tries to memorize them like words in a quote remember their placement in relation to each other. they blur together as most things do for her and the often feeling of being lost some way or another drips itself over her body. stopping is an option she doesn’t take rather would wander lost and alone but close enough she thinks to home that eventually she’ll end up at the right place. there are birds singing in the trees a breeze blows the vivid smell of lilac flowers surround her the weighing feeling of being alone outside of something. summer outside of here seems like myth. what else but a warm breeze licking cheeks licking evergreens. she thinks she could call someone ask them for time for connection a desire to feel within something. one hand touches the phone in her pocket but doesn’t take it out she continues her wandering walk steady in her pace as if she could convince she knows where she’s going what she’s doing as long as its steady.

the sun beats down filtered through oversized sunglasses she removes them blinks then returns them to her face a way to hide a hideaway from the gaze of others. what it means to be a girl alone a girl exposed. the downhill sidewalk leads to a dingy little store across from the river and recognition of a place finally returns to her not as relief. the way things stand still in small places the way nothing moves here. climbing the low rock wall framing the banks of the river she sits knees curled up under her chin as the waves sweep by identical in their pattern. to be a part of something so large just for a moment. imagine her body swept away by the current. imagine her body somewhere else. strength of the river has a sound of its own softening noises from the parking lot and busy roads. she watches.

her phone vibrates in pocket a message from him a hey how’s your day pushing a smile across her lips. she looks at his name then turns off her phone. gaze returns to the water the force of its task mesmerizing. a soft sigh and she closes her eyes.

in which she desires desire & nothing more:

moving to music swaying this and that all eyes on her or at least so it feels. loud bar floor sticky with spilt drinks her boots take extra long to pick up. one hand clutched on slopping beer downing the all so anxiety flees with inhibition with a desire to be left alone. drunk she is everyone’s friend. plaid skirt flows arms waving no rhythm but inside she feels fire outside she feels every eyes. every except eyes she wants but she closes her own dancing. hand grabbed by someone a girl unknown and she lets her body go with it dancing with another body desired and desirable. bodies bump against her boundaries ground into the ground with crowd packed in tight. the sweat of others on her wipes across her face.

a different girl friend of friends grabs her and their bodies touch electric with energy. a few drinks in and she doesn’t remember why she was here whose eyes her desire holds for. melting bodies the way that girl sways into her she melting. her whole body wet with desire and sweat her body seething skin on skin. buzzing steady never tipping over to too much she is here in the moment outside of her head. the hot music slips into her ears as the girl slips her hands over hips and pulls grinding crotch to ass bringing her as close as close. this as far as she wants it to go simply so no obligations no crush. body language misread lips close in on her lipstick switching shared. a foot down a mind made no more. she pulls away but still they dance until the music ends.

the girl asks her home and no no no but yes to a walk. hand in hand in the street sidewalk littered with the night’s good time she makes conversation to push off the shake in her legs. the walk stops the realization of home was still the destination after the no no politely no. go inside and smile shyly a smile reserved for nerves charms overcomes. the girl’s hand rests on exposed thigh skirt slid up vulnerability’s hiding spot. she is reminded always reminded she is prey a thing to be had her body an expectation no matter who the other. value placed in the moment the desire of her without her wanting the desire. refuse drinks accept weed pressed into apple apple pressed into lips. night heavy weighing on shoulders fog surrounding the house her brain.

the girl echoes stay the night chorus of her mouth.

no she echoes pulls out of embrace a trapped fox chewing off her own leg giving up a moment of heat. she leaves into the mist alone 3am drunks in the street shouting she cries.

in which she suffocates on the past :

fleeing the sweltering cage of her apartment she moves through the back streets the small neighborhood houses looking more familiar than ever her walk more of a slow pace. the town feels as if it’s shrinking around her smaller each time. her own room feels the same the tightening of walls his guitar seeming to move on its own accord closer to her bed. the suffocating closeness of things left behind. the buildings brick and old crumbling in places left the deterioration of loneliness touching even them. a home not lived in will give to decay. her body a home an empty house. her body a thing that yearns for more. she thinks of the distance between here and there between here and anywhere following her feet to the crumbling gazebo at the outskirts of a park she drawn to its shade a small cover from the critical gaze of the sun.

within the small building sits the saddest piano most keys stuck at odd angles pulled up like untamed teeth. she rests on its bench and sets her fingers against the mangled mess like he did once earlier this summer before his departure. staring off into the sky she tries to recall the melody shaky in chosen keys that worked his fingers deft in skipping those stuck in place moving things past their broken state but all that is in her ears is the bar music from the past night deep beating drum of desire. pushing down patterns forming a vain attempt to find the song again her fingers untrained hitting the broken keys thunking down with nothing beautiful ringing out in return. giving up her hands curling into fists she hits them into the piano’s mouth again and again breaking a few of the remaining keys the scream of it echoing out into the empty park. standing up abruptly the bench falling to its side a dull thud she leaves the gazebo walking towards the river her usual spot a creature stuck into patterns of here.

once there sitting looking into the river the constant movement of water leaving a place never lingering she wonders if it ever longs to stay just for a moment or so if it misses a shore it’s embraced and then left behind. she wonders if the river returns to that shore to stay for a summer.

she taps into her phone I miss you here and presses send an outstretched hand over the many miles to him.

in which she is a welcome back:

expanding the light the heat summer in an orb slowly expanding she revolving around same town same place. silence moves over buildings over fields bars and sidewalks as summer as people shrink away she stays always staying. a relic in town the eternal girl.

she feels expected like always to be there like paper coffee filters or cupboard spices. knows leaving is soon but perhaps not enough. something always expected her presence or more she tries to deliver it all tries to not be drained. when he comes back sits at her kitchen table as if he never left it all the same in stagnant waiting. staring watching his every move she wants everything his complete though takes what she gets. he makes food something between lunch and dinner noodles sitting across the table from her she stares his fingers nimble with chopsticks. forgets her own meal she stares unblinking in fear he will be gone when she looks over looks away. this is when he asks her if she’s okay. of course yes she’s fine always fine a forced smile an unblinking stare she thumbs corner of her eyes wet from his care. not used to care the how are yous of someone close she wants to break from tenderness she wants to scream. he speaks she listens imagining the time when this place is no longer hers. empty rooms then furniture rearranged no blue futon for the living room the curtains green. imagining the time when he sits a new kitchen table across from someone else a new mouth a different smile the weight of everything settles deep within her stomach. care that she feels always so desperate such despair. eyes meet eyes then calm silent soothing a small smile on his lips when he looks at her. her body a house in flames.

he picks up the dishes rustling her hair kiss on the cheek as he walks by.

in which she lives a night:

melting drenched in unexpected rain a city unfamiliar enough to feel newly exciting. they scurry together into a bar sliding into two tall chairs. being away from home she burns with delight an ecstasy short lasting a lifespan of a night. knees turned in towards her they face each other. they are one breath a warm breath. she is spit coating his tongue she is hanging to every second. two hard ciders her mind never made up in time so she copies his orders two hard ciders and a spilt meal advertised for sharing big enough for two. the drink fuels her burning her borders leaving as vapors she melts into the space the chatter of the room under her skin she feels the whole city in her boots. the noodles arrive too small for both but they laugh together and make it work repetitions of fine and full how about another drink. future settles in her cheeks as she finishes her second glass she wonders about how long things last. this happiness a night and then back a fleeting time.

this is where he asks her if she’s okay his ability to read the language of her face uncannily accurate equally frustrating. a head nod and a yes yes of course. the music switches to something she’s heard before instantly louder in her ear her head sways along in time slow and fluid. yes yes of course. thoughts of tomorrow flood but she shakes them away the desire paid to remain present. the desire to remain. a squeeze of her thigh light but grounding bringing her back to the bar to the unfamiliar delight.

in which she tastes a tenderness:

remaining in bed well into the morning the heat already making itself known they lie legs tangled and lazy eyes. morning breath spit swapped in early kisses intimate disgust that comes with time spent encompassing space here shared. she thinks of the before when her bed knew nothing of his body when he was but a face in a room and now mornings rituals of the here of moments the closeness of grasp of being seen the stretching feeling of being a part of something more than self. his fingers absently brush her cheek down her neck and again the tender bite of last night blueing beneath touch. the summer it closing slowly like last call announcing itself with the waning of days growingly unsteady weather a cause for wonder what next. she moves closer skin sticky with the sweat of sleep one arm beneath her and the other across him as if the weight of all could keep him there them together here the whole day. the sounds of awake traffic surrounding her small apartment screams of sirens and urgency of all. he turns towards her tapping her nose with a finger then a kiss closing his eyes as if returning to sleep was a possibility. the possibility of anything seems alive at the start summer’s promises wide embrace a never-ending summer until it’s not. she reaches always searching for his hand some bare skin to rest hers against the warmth a reminder of his presence the fleeting presence of anything of it all.

dreams move through her mind she pictures a perfect place where they could all stay a place of desire remaining desire. the death of it all not a thought. a space to remain a forever summer this summer on repeat endless and engulfing. she thinks of the group of them friends under the summer sun basking in brilliance and the like. the fragility of it all and despite. knowing there is nothing like this only stagnant moments between movements and bliss. a sigh escapes her and she wanting to crawl within his skin a complete embrace. the slow morning of today a place to hide for awhile she slides her hand beneath his shirt always yearning for closer contact a way to remain. and still the morning slips away.

in which she feels a part:

smiling the dark covers evidence of teeth shown wide cheeks double dimpled. she is here they are lying on stretched net of a trampoline. lying and looking up the stars reveal themselves in confidence their light one and the same. she is here with them her summer friends she feels herself spreading melting in with them seasonal cohesion but perhaps could be more something longer something that stays. staying in place doing everything she can to stay in ways others don’t. a friend already left another leaving soon a goodbye with the season fleeing south. they laugh in time with bonfire cracks the clinks of bottles against teeth. they laugh and she thinks of when this will be vanished the laughs an echo in ears a ghost of the wind. the promise to return visit and the like always feeling more unlikely than anything. they laugh and she cries the dark summer night masking her tears silent trails streaming grin still stretched the salt mixing with beer aftertaste around her lips.

getting up she grabs her camera flash on to capture this. a them that will never leave one she can hold onto tightly without impede. the click the flash brighter than star’s light and she falls back in place with them.

in which she returns:

flowing reaching through water warmed by an expanse of season. the lake swallows her in immersing neck deep she stands there still in its cover.

Morghen Tidd is a writer from Maine who is interested in writing narratives that mix the mundane with the grotesque through exploring the experiences of girls. She received her MA in English from the University of Maine and now she is floating through space. She has work forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review.