Weekend In Duck
by Omie Wallace
Our last time together, you were hunched over a sandcastle, shoulders burnt and miserable, your nose bright in the North Carolina sun. That night you had the chills: shivering in the sheets, spilling your feet out and then tucking them back in again, threading them between my thighs.
“Hot, cold. Hot cold,” you whispered, and we laughed, but you were sick. Sun poisoned. A wreck the next day.
As we’d expected, Becky was snorting coke again. She’d been up collecting shells and came to breakfast with the emptied homes of the Atlantic’s clams, mollusks, mussels, and all the other squishies whose names I forget but who taste wonderful with herbed butter and thick white bread.
Becky turned oranges around in the white-nippled juicer and made us mimosas to watch the sun roll out across the ocean, across the white beach, up to our porch and our legs outstretched on the wooden deck furniture.
You shivered again at the lick of sun, and I wanted you to be gone. To take your thin red arms back home to hide under tee shirts in the grimy kitchens of Richmond's dive bars. I’d singled you out as the thing this beach trip could do without.
When your fever drove up to a hundred and one, you finally agreed to let me drive you home. I put you in the dirty sheets and lay cool rags on your forehead. Did the dishes. Fed that old fat cat. But I wouldn't lay down with you. Not then or after. I left you with your skin stinging like nettles, and drove all the way back to the Outer Banks.
With you gone, I drank whiskey with Becky and walked to the evening water. To where your castle spread in a lump above its receding moat.