- Vol. 09
- Chapter 03
One red toenail. It’s real. I know this, because I think about wiggling it and it wiggles. The other toenails are real. I remember painting them, steadying my hand the best I could with Ryan bumping against me.
Tell me a story about seals, he screeched in my ear with every bounce off my arm.
Ten weeks his dad had been gone and dammit I just wanted five minutes of peace. Ryan, I’d snapped. Go away.
The duck is real, as real as the tears that sprung to Ryan’s eyes, as real as the sudden stiffness is his little shoulders. As real as the skin he slipped over his shoulder before diving into the water.
Five minutes, I’d wanted, five minutes of quiet. I silently sit at the edge of the water, and they slip on their skins, the seals, and they quietly stare at me. I look at them, all of them. Their faces, human and seal or melting from one to the other. I look at them and I don’t know if they’re real, but I know they’re not Ryan, so I sit with my duck and my toenails and wait.