Getting on a plane and landing in any part of the East Coast feels like a returning. There is a silence on the coastline I haven’t been able to find in any of the places I’ve visited or any of the places I’ve lived. Even in New York City, where it is always loud and smoky and busy, there is a silence. It’s a little harder to find, but it’s more rewarding when you stumble upon it. It is at once more fulfilling and fleeting.
We spent three nights in Brooklyn before heading south to Maryland. I’ve only been there once before but still the roads seemed familiar to me. When we reached that last long stretch of trees, S said to look for deer and then, in the same breath, he found one and pointed it out to me.
Do you see it? he asked.
I see it, I said.
Memorial Day weekend was hotter than last year. We caked sunblock on our bodies and sprayed bugspray behind our ears but still the No-See-Ums ate us alive, even when we surrounded ourselves with torches and pointed all the bright lights toward the corners of the tent.
One night we sat around two round tables, drinking beer that had been left in the sun all day.
Oh, hey, S said. Look at this!
The tiniest green frog had landed in his lap. It stood staring up at him with big, black eyes. We had no idea how he’d made it so far off the ground.
My reflexes were slow. I couldn’t get a picture.
The next day we went out on the Miles River, piling into a boat too small for us, making it drive faster than it was probably meant to go.
Halfway through the day I was done with interactions. I wanted to be by myself. I spent the afternoon on a hammock finishing How Should A Person Be? and starting Doll Bones in the same breath. I like when the books bleed into each other. I like when the words get jumbled up.
The next day we returned to California. S slept through half the plane ride. The turbulence never really stopped. Five hours of rocking back and forth.
We touched down in LA before three o’clock. I was ready for bed by six. I fell asleep by nine.
I had a dream I can’t really remember. A woman with dark, curly hair. A monster.
I woke up in the middle of the night to someone whispering in my ear. They said Katie, even though no one really calls me that. I shook S awake and made him talk to me until I felt OK enough to go to sleep again.
photographs taken in Easton, Maryland.