We sit in the loft of my parents’ Minnesota lake cabin circa 1987, the old box fans covered in wet towels and lazily steaming out the hot air of mid-summer. My best friend and I are sitting on one of the twin beds covered in a peach-colored comforter. Our bare legs are tan from a day swimming in the fresh algal-smelling lake, rocking on an oversized inner tube to see who would crash in to the water first. It was a wonderful day punctuated by padding up the pine steps for red Kool-Aid and Wheat Thins covered in Easy Cheese.
Our conversation carried on as it had all day, incessant talk of the best way to get tan, which boys might be in our class the following fall and our grand plans for working on the fort in the mosquito-infested woods behind the cabin. And then a familiar feeling began to rise in me again, like a yellow rubber duck in a quickly overfilling bathtub – smiling happily at me in the face of a grave threat. For no discernible reason, I didn’t want anyone to talk to me anymore. I wanted her to let me be before the fatigue of interacting with someone threatened to defeat me. I wanted to be left alone with my thoughts. I wanted to revert in to my own world with my books and daydreams. I wanted to run, alone, in silence along the gravel road. I made a hasty excuse and climbed down the ladder and made a nervous lunge at my mom, beseeching her with my eyes.