Daysong Graphics
Waiting For Sunset

I first saw her in the fragile moments before sunset, when the sky’s illumination cast its line out into the lake, fishing for the pinks and oranges sparkling from the water’s surface. She sat on top of a picnic table, her bare feet resting on the bench, and tipped her chin toward the sky. Hair the color of corn silk cascaded over her shoulders and the sun’s farewell turned her profile to the hue of glowing embers. I stood there, watching, wondering at God’s irony, until the sun disappeared behind the horizon and the water turned an inky blue.

When she reached for her sandals and spun toward the parking lot, her hand flew to her chest and her wide eyes gave way to a startled expression. She didn’t move until her hand detached from her breastbone. And even then, her steps were hesitant.

“Sorry for scaring you,” I said as she approached.

One corner of her mouth curled and she shrugged. “It’s a public beach.”

“Usually a deserted one, though.”

The other corner of her mouth tilted upward, completing her smile, and she stared at me through a thick cloak of dark lashes. “You come here often?”

A low chuckle emitted from my chest at the choice of her words.

She cocked an eyebrow. “What’s so funny?”

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Time With the Pond

“Remember when you’d pretend you were a tour guide on that raft Dad made?” The heat of the day inspires beads of sweat on her forehead. My sister’s hair sticks to her cheek.

“I used to pretend to know all the names for every tree. I made it all up. Dad worked on that raft for hours.”

The pond before us is as large as a skating rink. I wipe my face with the heels of my hands and know I’m leaving traces of mud on my cheeks. I hold pebbles in my hands, intending to throw them. The pond is different today. For one thing, Amanda and I had to crawl under a new wooden fence to perch ourselves upon one of the rocks at the pond’s edge.

Her voice is raspy from years of smoking. “He made that raft out of our old fence, the one you got cut on, right?”

A nail in that fence left a scar on my leg. Every time I dry myself after a shower it’s there, a wormlike wriggle, pale and obvious just above my knee.

I point to it near the hem of my shorts. “Were you outside when Dad shot the snake on the raft?”

“This pond doesn’t have snakes in it.” Amanda, always the older sister, puts me in my place.

The air feels familiar, stagnant and pulsing with mosquitoes and bullfrog bellows. I must have come down to this pond every summer night for twelve years in a row. I knew the smells, the tickle of the weeping willow on my head and hair every time I plopped down onto this rock. I bet if I try hard enough, I can still hear my mother calling us in for dinner. I close my eyes. Yes, I hear her voice ring out over the lawn and across the pond.

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Fossil Hunter