NIGHTS ON THE DELAWARE - brittany harmon

After auntie fell asleep, comatose from chardonnay and her morphine pump, we’d sneak through the jagged hole in the chain-link fence to the river’s secret beach. During the day it laid prey to desperate pigeons and washed-up condoms. But in the moonlight we didn’t notice, not the fishhooks or cigarette butts, not even the stench of pollution. The darkness was a shield. My brother was best at finding the flattest stones, which he taught me how to skip. He told me not to think so much about wrist motion. You just have to feel it. The soft patter like rain on the gutter. Our bare toes crunched shells and broken bottles, sharpness blunted and weathered by some unseen force. But every now and then there was a malicious edge. We’d wrap our cut feet with leaves and seaweed, the saltwater soothing, the stars reassuring. As long as we had this, we didn’t mind the blood.

Brittany Harmon
Out of Sheer Rage
Geoff Dyer