Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Roaring Plenties by Katie Heindl

Somewhere between 15 and 47 jumps off the diving board into the pool steaming turquoise the colour shifted to just about every part of me. White lights fuzzed around everything and rain slid off our bodies and the empties scattered in the grass. Our legs kicked at the surface every time like we didn't know it was coming, and when it did it was like wet duvets, water thick from the heat. We bobbed through the steam eyeing each other, brand new but knowing better. I whipped a slice of pizza over the fence and you smashed a can open on half a jutting patio umbrella stand, we shotgunned in honour of 24hrs straight though neither of us were seeing that way. I was bleeding by my big toe and had nettles coming out of one knee but stood proud and soaked and dripping, cocked at the hip and a bit at the mouth, smirking from halfway in a mulberry bush. When we came out later in the pitch dark and open quiet only backyards in the suburbs have, lit underneath by the pool, it was after 2 and we stood naked in the rain. You’d wanted out here and the sweat was coming off us. I’m not sure who but one of us grinned first and spun ourselves up in the air into the water. Everywhere was wet and in that total sense of submersion the quiet ran ricocheting laps around our laughter while our hands fumbled underwater. How open we all get in the heat and the light of these lengthening days. Brighter ourselves, eyes wide like welcome stances and our voices an arm around everything. 

Walking down a gravel road to the day sailing club, soaked, over the flattest garter snake I ever saw. The rain was coming through the thin trees in dense sheets of hard mist, persistent, clouding the air like fog. My bangs against my forehead, sunglasses still on, we walked our bikes with one hand and they bounced up into our palms, taking sips of iced tea with the other, tasting the salt and sweat the rain pushed in rivulets to our mouths. The skyline slunk through the trees, far out where we left it, shifting, the CN tower always huger when you’re taking it in from out over water. “This is the kind of road you’d go down to murder someone,” we both agreed. 

The last time we were down on this beach was in high school after my friend Mikhail jumped the edge of the grass bank behind the Waterworks into pitch black. He was on the grass then he was against the sky then he was gone and we heard him, rolling fast toward the lake. Gone a bit blind, fear-blind for sure, from SoCo, I flung myself downhill and landed somehow laughing miraculous with one leg kicked out over his spinning body the other anchored under me, gouging into the ground, hands clenched back behind with tufts of nettle as leverage. He was singing something, the lake was black at our feet, a sheer drop down off 20ft of concrete a few more rotations away. We climbed up the hill on hands and knees and lay backwards, panting, listening to the 501 streetcars still making their turns on the tracks sparking the lines as they spun on the Neville Park loop. What happened down on the beach so much I don’t remember. 

Lake Ontario looked like a 18,960km lagoon, stretching out huge and a violent tropical green against the darkening sky pitching up the wind around us. The city, against a dusted beige and pink haze usually reserved for the southwest, so small at our backs. You hand me a rusted-out piece of rebar and you take a crumbling brick stamped with “1928” and we start to huck everything we can get our hands on into the water. Pretty soon we’ll be dry. Pretty soon we’ll be soaked again. 

You're a subtle power, like a live wire under a shy grin going out sideways. In your hands loose sparks pressed to be pointed. Down on the couch you pull me down and down again and over and your smile is upside-down and I can't place it any clear way. The echoes of this house turn over around us and you pull me in a way that's the least pressure I've had in years. The quiet in you is stirring in the steam between the pool and you and the cedar shed and me and I ask what you're staring at and you say, "Your butt." The rain is coming from all sides. Our muscles that tired type of grinning wide open from ranging the city all day. I crouch and you sprawl and the cement dogs our softer parts til we slide against the lining to the depth down there, hot and bright. Our animals are dumbstruck with a sense of shared territory but still I feel them eyeballing in lazy circles, their teeth glinting teal under these submerged sideways lights. We're waterlogged and swelling some but in us a shared distance of what it means to hold an arm's length in your mouth.