Jacob Lawrence, Hot Summer's Night (1947)
August 16, 2004:
Mission Beach Plunge, early 1970s.
$3.50 for an all-day pass. They put a colored thread around your wrist. A different
color each day.
Smell of sea salt, of coconut tanning lotion. Sound of girls squealing, of machines in
motion. Taste of hot dogs and mustard.
I loved the house of mirrors. Distortion like a window into the inevitable subjectivity
of perception. I wouldn't have been able to put it that way then. Born a Modernist I
My friend loved the great slide. You climb the metal ladder for what seems like years,
then slide down on scratchy burlap bags. The slide was baby blue plastic, like its
far-smaller cousins around people's backyard pools. It was huge, six or eight lanes across,
with a dip and bump about halfway down to send you flying. We climbed and slid and climbed
and slid and climbed and slid.
Neither of us liked the roller-coaster. Or the huge indoor pool. Just the slide and the mirrors,
and sometimes the bumper cars.
He's dead now.
Maybe people don't really die until all of us who hold memories of them have all died ourselves.
Maybe that's what the afterlife is which people catch glimpses of during near-death experiences.
That wouldn't be so bad.
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© 2002-2013 Mark Phillips.
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This writing is fiction. Please don't confuse it with reality.