Carrying the baby across tide pools, is there a saying for this? "Hold the basketball," I say, "both hands." She obliges and I lift her and she goes stock still, the trapped water is so warm and I'm trying to watch for buried crabs and shells and bones. We found a half submerged crab and dug it up and it’s legs flailed and pinched, “That’s scary,” I said, realizing a second too late I shouldn’t have said anything cause the baby parrots, “That’s scary” but means it, her huge eyes going huger. The water goes up to my ankles and I've got my chucks dangling from one stuck out finger as my friends whose child this is laugh at me from where they’ve had to go around. I remember she peed her pants, she's still learning, it's down in her tiny rain boots and I feel so happy that for a few sharp seconds I get choked up. The sun is slanting down through shifting clouds and everything is reflecting it. Behind us the elaborately tiered beach homes of Hell’s Angels come down the hill they are built into, and what will become the ocean once it's past all these coastal islands spreads out wide in front. A guy flying with an airboat engine attached to a parachute revs around overhead, it sounds like a lawnmower through a loud-speaker. He’s freaking out the gulls, making his way back and fourth over the Washington state border, an invisible line about 40ft down the beach.
“This house looks like a boat.” I’m wading through the kitchen and everything creaks. An hour ago we were running around a warehouse so far out it was off any mental map I’d patch-worked together for this place. Tearing up and down handmade ramps and stairs after the echoes of our shouts, Dipset reverbing out from the room we’d started in, coming off the kind of night where your brain has hopped a hundred fences and the feigned adrenalin is tendering a relationship about five hours old, down in between mountains. The light of the industrial copier passes over our flushed faces, once, twice, eyes squeezed shut so tight everything pops a flash-white-pink, as if there’s strawberry milk in the sockets. We come out in the tray warm, grey and scrunched up. There are photocopiers all over the floor of his room and we spot them like icebergs from bed, laughing, way past six in the morning. The walls bulge out and I feel like a kid, sleeping in the bow of our old boat. We toss everything over the side. I couldn’t tell you how to navigate the ports I’ve come into.
She goes running down the beach, tiny legs pumping. "Will she stop?" I turn and ask my friend, her mother. "I'm not sure," she's smiling. Her father is holding the small basketball, "We tried this with her once in the park, wondering when she'd stop, she didn't." The sand is cut in deep ribbed patterns that don't all the way flatten underfoot. We all yell the baby's name, she is running across 200ft of tideland, back toward the train tracks we crossed, assuredly past them, to her house. She doesn't stop. The sun is insane. "Will you go or I'll go?" she asks him, "I can go." He hucks the basketball down in the sand, "I'll go.” He takes off, jacket flapping in the wind, her and I we put our hands up to shield our eyes and steam starts to rise up from the sand around us. You started this by hiding a bottle of vodka beside a dumpster, waking up in the rain, shy and wide with everything plastered against you, ending up in the penthouse and finally came barreling out as West as you’re able, sucking salt water from your fingers. She’s only two and a half feet tall, how the fuck is she moving so fast?