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Push My Pretty Waters

The tiny fragments of earth move through my toes, in this temperate water that gives me affection up to three feet; I am home.  Home from exams, home from university mixers, home from girls who think it is more important to find the right shade of slate hair dye than it is to examine the biological theory that asserts there is an existence of a predisposition to rape.  I can see the discarded sand crab shells near my feet.  A thrown-away home.

This sound of water hitting water, dry gurgles of laughter from kids, the sun pushing pleasantness on my face and freckled arms, and the smell of suntanned fish makes me want to move back.  But I won’t.  The shore is spotless today.  Spotless aside from the girly-girls in their new summer thongs, and boys with salivating genitalia.  I would never wear a thong bathing suit; and my boobs are real and a size B cup.  I will have crow’s feet next to my green eyes because sunglasses irritate the bridge of my nose. 

My mother has always told me this, that eventually the wrinkles will consume me and turn me into a tan hag, and this is why I welcome those crow’s feet.

But thoughts of my source are submerged because I can see that one of those high school boys is struggling, panicking, losing against a smart sea.  He has underestimated, gone out too far, and cannot swim his way back.  So I move my shoulders into that competitive swimmer’s form that I left behind when I left this place, and I go to him.  Faster and faster as he hits the water with his clumsy hands and throws out half screams of help while the salt water slaps his face and the deep pulls him closer to her womb.  I am fast.  I won a lot.  So I am there quickly, beside him, treading while I try to grab his flailing arms to signal I am here.  He flaps and flaps and I am blinded by darts of water until I move behind him, put him in a headlock and start to tow him into shore.  But he does not feel me, he does not see me, and so his panic makes his body uncontrollable.  I am pushed under by his brawny man-boy arms and water sucks into my nose, burning my sinuses.  I swim away from him, flex myself into the swimmer mode again, and try once more.  I am pulling him, with success I think, until his leg kicks me in the kidney and I collapse into a ball, sinking and swallowing water.  I push up again and know that if he keeps this up, he will lose.  So I move in to him again, I yell and scream at him, I tell him to relax, I tell him I will help him.  But he keeps on and the arms hit my cheekbone, and the feet kick the inside of my thigh and I am shoved under the water once more.  I am trying.  But I know.  It is him, or it is me.  I move toward him one more time.

That boy with terror in his eyes, that gulping and crying the same gulping and crying I had after one of them pretended to like me. He took me to the wet grass by the shore and it felt like a sword jabbing my head my heart and my hole, and when he finished taking my first blood, he left me.  On that wet grass.  I go in again but he is still fighting me.  I am losing strength in this sea.  And that teacher who took my sister after school to give her lessons on his lap while his raccoon in the cage hissed.  My swimmer’s legs are dying. This boy is drowning.  And my dad who chose waves even further out over his children. This boy is drowning so I kick him in his balls and cock and he curls and vomits under the water.

So now he is sinking. I go to him and begin to cry as I yell at my body, at this little girl, that she better push that energy and shove that strength and I put him in a headlock again. My head is pulled under the water from the weight of his heavy body, but I am a swimmer.  He is limp. I am a swimmer and I could choke him but I move my head into the sea air to gasp and struggle and breathe life.  I am slow and exhausted but I pull him to shore. I dump him and hit his chest as hard as I can with my fists together so that water spews out of his lungs in a thrust. I wipe his messy froth, and I place my mouth to his.


Alisa A. Gaston-Linn’s work has appeared in The Montreal Review, The Sun, HipInk, is forthcoming in Hawaii Pacific Review. She earned a master’s in Liberal Studies with Advanced Study in Creative Writing from the University of Denver, is a professional web writer and editor, and teaches writing to youth. Alisa is currently working on a novel.


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