In the deep end.

Where Charley told me to wait. Holding a Mai-tai, maybe, something with a bit of sass. Our honeymoon, it was.

The night before the wedding and Charley pacing the floor. I called my Florida mother, who said jitters and sorry to miss.

The wedding itself. Charley, the last to arrive. Whiskey on his tuxedo breath. His best man nudging him towards me like a beer.

And the honeymoon. One of those pay-by-the-hour places just out of town. Charley mixed up the Mai-tai from a gas station packet. Ginger ale from a vending machine.

It was noon, and Charley still hadn’t touched me. Saving himself, is what he had said. I always wondered why he never wanted to kiss me or why he even wanted to get married. It’s not like he lost a bet.

The pool, a skim of leaves and small insects. Most of them dead, but some trying to make it to the edge. “Guess no one swims here much.” Charley winked, when he saw it, when he walked me down the steps, colder, then colder, then cold.

“Let’s walk in up to our necks,” Charley said, taking my hand towards the deep part, where probably no other person had been. “Wait here,” he said, “I want to get my camera.”

Every so often a stray couple wandered out through the motel door, and dipped a toe in the pool. Every so often, a fly made it close to the rim, maybe three breaths left, his wings soggy and useless, now, too heavy even for flight.



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