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Live a Little
We went to the beach. I should have called my mom to tell her I was skipping class but we were so excited to get out of that school that the appeal of the beach overrode my usual good judgment.
We hopped into his truck and drove for forty-five minutes; he held my hand the entire way there.
It wasn’t even that nice of a day out. Pretty cloudy and windy; the water was blown onto shore and the waves rolled over the smooth sand. I could feel the dampness of the air when I inhaled.
“Should we go swimming?” he asked.
I hesitated and then walked to the water. I pulled my socks off, rolled the hem of my pants over my ankles and let the water rush over my toes. I jumped back; it was much too cold to swim, not to mention I hadn’t brought a bathing suit.
“C’mon!” he said, walking into the water without even flinching. He could swim if he wanted but it was too cold for me. I backed up a few feet and then sat down out of the water’s reach.
He came out of the water, his knees and shins still wet. He sat down beside me in the sand, put his arm around me and then kissed me on the cheek. “Live a little” he breathed into my ear.
I did not want to. But whatever and however I was living now felt like enough. But what would happen if I didn’t go swimming? He would leave me, find someone who wanted to ‘live a little’ more than I did, and I couldn’t have that. I stood up, took off my clothes until I was just in my underwear. I ran as fast as I could into the water so I wouldn’t feel the cold.
My toes felt numb before the water reached my shoulders. I clenched my jaw to keep my teeth from chattering. He came in after me and when he reached me, gave me a quick kiss on the lips.
“It’s not so bad once you’re in, is it?”
“Damn it, it’s freezing. I’m getting out” I said with half a smile.
We raced out of the water and back to our pile of clothes.
“Wait one sec, I have blankets that we left in the truck” he said to me with a wink. I sat in the sand freezing till he came back and wrapped one around my shoulders and then one around him.
“I have a surprise for you” he said.
“Something better than swimming in the freezing water?” I asked half joking.
“Mmm, better” he grinned as he pulled out an aged bottle of whisky that was three quarters full. He opened the bottle up and took a long swig and then offered some to me.
“Um, no thanks” I said as I pushed the bottle away from me.
“C’mon” he said with a daring glance as he pushed the bottle back at me. I knew better but I wanted to have fun, and if this was his idea of fun… well it couldn’t be that bad right? It was just a drink.
I took a small sip. It scorched down the back of my throat. My stomach churned as it felt the warmth immediately and the rotten taste stayed in my mouth. I felt my face slowly twist as my nose turned up. “That’s disgusting” I said.
We sat on that beach for what felt like hours, laughing and drinking. I only had a few more sips and each one tasted just as bad as the first. He didn’t seem to taste it though, drank it like water.
After a while I began to notice the sun starting to go down. “We should get going…” I trailed off.
We both stood up and wobbled. He laughed, “I’m drunk” he exclaimed.
I had never been drunk before but my vision seemed to be spinning and my legs felt unsteady.
“Should we call someone?” I asked
“Don’t be silly,” he said, “I’ll drive.”
“No way, you just said your drunk! You can’t drive.”
“Get in the car babe, or you’re going to have to call your mom,” he stumbled “or find another way home.”
I was already scared that my mom was going to question me when I got home about where I had been and who I’d been with. I could make up a lie but if she had to come get me I’d have to tell her the truth. Then I thought about what he had said to get to go swim with him earlier that day; live a little. That hadn’t turned out so bad. Relax, I told myself.
“Fine.” I said and he smiled as if he knew I’d give in. We got back in the truck and headed home.
I wasn’t really aware of what was going on until all of a sudden a horn blew breaking my daze. I didn’t have enough time to formulate a thought because I was being blinded by headlights directly ahead, coming towards me much too fast. A flash of a red car door cut quickly across my vision and then was flung into my side and I felt bends and breaks where it landed. Broken glass showered over my chest and legs. Then suddenly I was flying; I flew from the car but my flight was cut short when I abruptly hit the pavement. Pain throbbed through my shoulder and then shot up my neck. My side felt warm and I reached down to touch it, my hand returning wet and red. My head hurt and stars clouded my vision.
Right now, I was living, but just a little.