a family party for a great-aunt we don't know, on my mother's side, who we don't see much. i'm 14, he's 16, we've been scrubbed within an inch of our lives and i am wearing a shiny lilac princess dress which my mother bought for me. lark is wearing a blazer, and a real shirt. my mother is wearing a suit, she's trying to look straight for the relatives. her wild hair is crushed into a tight knot. we all feel stiff and uncomfortable, our accustomed motion is lost in these clothes.

the cold stuff of the dress slithers against my legs as we walk from the car to a house by the shore. there are a lot of people there who know our names, but don't know us. we smile so hard our faces ache, we act nice, we eat what we are given.

suddenly my mother's attention is lost for a moment, swallowed by strange faces.

lark spots the door to the porch.

we slip away.

and we are running on the beach, shouting and laughing, lark has thrown his tie into the wind and i am kicking up sand in my princess dress. my hair is a wild blur around my head, those stupid shoes are scattered behind me. the wind has me.

and we both look up at the same time and see our mother, throwing off her shoes and running towards us, laughing.

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