A screaming comes across the sky.

She sees it through hazy eyes, her tequila-induced migraine growing with every step. Water. The rope swing, that’s what she needs. Wouldn’t it be perfect, she thinks, we should skip these plans and go to the river. It’s already three in the afternoon and the sun hasn’t even begun to lower its persistence. Dreamily she follows this group into the crowds of people waiting for something she’s not sure of. She wants lemonade, or water, or more liquor if someone has it, but ignoring her thirst is easier.

Packed into four separate cars, five in each, they can’t find a single space so he settles on the grass to park. She doesn’t care; she neglected shoes to begin with. They run, stumble to the rocks. She forgets how beautiful the pastures get in late afternoon when summer skin is exposed and people don’t bruise quite as easily. Instead of jumping in, she acutely watches the others, waiting for stragglers from their group. Something’s so heavy these days, so she strips to her bathing suit, hoping to alleviate any pressure at all.

There are matching linens, heaping plates of apple pie, sweet tea, barbecue. No one’s realized his or her hunger until now. She skips the rush, goes to lie down in the hammock. It’s that perfect kind of night when you can actually taste the summer, feel the heat rising from the asphalt, be anyone you want. She’s forgotten who surrounds her; her focus lies in tonight’s star patterns, the way she can never know them all.

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