Ethan could not sleep. History seeped into him like the sand at low tide. The rocks in his pockets bulged and the memories of where he found them left wrinkled wakes inside him. He wanted to shout out and exclaim his love, but he was too late and alone. He sighed and held the pillow close.

The veins in my arms bulge blue, like lines on a map. The steady beat of my heart is a tribal drum of long lost memories. Those bulging veins are the life that still carries my memories, my DNA, my fingerprint, my sorrow. All these maps are in me, I am divided like the current of the stream around a tall rock. I am a ridge, a fence, a coup. I will cup my hands in these things some day, then let these things dribble out through my pressed fingers.

When I am strong like this, I will crack my knuckles and stretch often. My shoulders will roll like spinning bearings of tranquility. I will fall into the wrinkles of my bed sheets like a worn spoon and I will dream about any girl that reminds me of her. I am fortified with wine and oats. My lips will always taste sweet. I will rise each day like it was my first and my last. I will pray to make it until tomorrow. My strength will resonate like ripples of a drop of dew in a waiting pool.

To will a will to be this way was all Ethan hoped. He slept instead.

Ethan sat silently in the rain. His eyes beget a languid apathy to the world and he was gray as the sky. The droplets matted his brown hair to his head and errant curls sprang up like tendrils. His soul cried for the reality he was skipping, though he could not manage the will to shake the numb sorrow within. The t-shirt he was wearing absorbed weight, stuck to him close and cold. The sheets of rain dwindled to drops and they hit the lake with wee "plops", bouncing concentric circle wakes.

He looked at the underside of his forearms and the iridescent hue that glowed from the pale skin in the breaking light. They looked soft like overripe fruit and the veins inside, his life, like the endocarp of a split peach pit. He rubbed his arms, feeling the sleek rain run off in cool trickles as the clouds began to break. The after rain summer smell found him and the elms across the inlet glowed yellow in the sifted light. Ethan suddenly remembered his first day of second grade. The memory found déjà vu all over again. It was the first year he didn't have to wear his leg braces, on account that the missing bone ankle induced pigeon toed gait had been corrected. He could wear wooden corrective insoles in his shoes instead. That weather that day had been like this, summer before autumn, when the trees still try to convince leaves to grow a bit more before the cold winds come.

Ethan had felt that the insoles were the last frontier of his self alienation. He was ashamed, and would scramble when his shoe popped off on the playground to corral the piece of wood before someone saw it. No matter that he was free of the cumbersome metal and leather leg braces, the insoles were an embarrassment. They were not obvious. The things inside his shoes made him less, but he pretended not to be. Today was like that day. Today was like a day he would scramble to hide a secret.

Strength corrals the penny taste and adrenaline into a stoic ball of calculated calm. Heightened senses exhume sorrow and knead it into more strength. Marvelous air swirls in with methodical wonder and the eye within is the serenity result. I am strong like this. This strength dissolves shame. It forges wistful melancholia into a wash up of experience.

Ethan wished the olive skinned girl would come back again. He had left her a note after finding her on the bench four months ago when he had wind in his sails. He felt like a trout rising to a fly in the still ripples of a pool on the falling side of a boulder. She saw her with some khaki pant blue oxford boy, holding hands. They had passed on the street and he pretended like he was a celebrity, pulling his cap down, shuffling past. They had let their eyes cross and she didn't say a word, so he forced his head down and moved his feet forward.

Here, four months later he sat on his melancholy bench wishing he had a moment back. A dragonfly with a red tail stuck to his shirt, he laughed for a moment inside as it flexed its wings. Ethan felt kismet and knew that the red ribbons that bowed in tatters around the splintered bench were this dragonfly and they were ready to fly away. He willed the bug to fly with a soft blow of lips as he stood up. The dragonfly remained as a mayfly skipped across the water, eventually eaten by a bluegill.

The strength waited dormant under his skin like a rash. Potential sucked his memory nipple. The potential wanted nourishment, to grow. Pursing lips of predetermined will. Standing, he walked away through the reed grass, ducks waddling by.

Stronger than now... now... later now. Ethan felt the ripples make the hair on the back of his neck stand straight as the dragonfly bounced away.

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