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She made me lie down in the sand next to her in the rain. We held hands.

“Just be still,” she said. And the rain came down. “Spread your fingers wide, like this.”

The rain hit my face and ran down my cheeks. It soaked our clothes and our skin and our hair and everything got sandy.

I spread my fingers wide.

“Can we get up yet?” I said.

“Wait,” she said. “I’ll tell you when.”

Minutes passed and we listened to the rain come down with our eyes closed and the thunder far in the background.

“Do you know what causes thunder?” I asked.

“The lightening,” she said.

“Yes, but what about lightning?”

“It never strikes twice… Okay, let’s do this.”

We sprang up, turned, and saw our silhouettes carved dry on the sand.

We were here. We were together.

The rain quickly filled in the blank spaces.

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Last Evenings of Summer

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It’s the open windows of summer that I’ve started to miss. I miss all the people in town sharing their indoor space with the world. On my walk home, I used to be able to hear a conversation every night outside an open kitchen window. It was a husband and wife, both just getting home. It was the same time every night, the three of us doing our societal clockwork. I’d hear only small fragments and always the same questions: the how-was-your-days or anything-happen-at-work-todays? The mundane exchanges coupled with the openness of the window always lead me into nostalgia, like they should have a pie cooling on the windowsill or something.

My neighbor plays his piano every night. He lives alone with his master piano and he isn’t very good. Still, as I sit in my home and he in his, I wouldn’t trade our evening concerts for anything.

Air-conditioning can sometimes feel like a godsend, but God, it’s so nice to feel like nothing’s changed.

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Atlantis.

I met a glass blower today on Capitol Hill. I didn’t know that could be your living these days. Apparently, Seattle has the second most glass blowing studios in the world after Murano in Venice, Italy. Walking down to the docks today, water on all sides, I wanted the sense of urgency that this city would be sinking too.

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An evening at the circus.

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Oak Street

Amie flirts with the subway guy enough that he lets her ride for free. When her wink is just right, or when she’s not wearing anything over her bikini top, he lets both of us through the handicapped entrance. There’s a 25 yard ramp down to the train platform and I wonder if it’s to make it handicap accessible or just so we could race down it. Everything feels that way, made for us. This sky above, this city slowly making its way closer out the train window, this rocking action of the train that puts Amie to sleep on my shoulder, the damp darkness of the subway tunnels as we head underground, all of this is for us.

We liked Oak Street Beach because it was pedestrian only. No parking lot, only city dwellers. The night before, we listened to an album called Endless Summer and I listened and loved it and not because of the music. I thought if we sat and just played it on loop it would somehow make the dusk last longer and into the night, that we could be back porch sitters until the end of all things. She told me that night that she never waits to get her toes in the sand, that she loses flip flops that way, that she still gets upset when she sees any real shoes at the beach and we should go tomorrow.

Sure enough, when cement became sand after crossing under Lake Shore Drive, the flip flops flopped off and were left behind, me watching, as she ran flicking sand behind her, dropping bags and towels haphazardly as if she needed to get to the water before her next breath. Amie took pride in being a Great Lake Swimmer. She called it her tribe, a sense of belonging that the ocean-front dwellers would never understand. She’d say their water is too buoyant, that you don’t even have to try to stay afloat. She liked the metaphor of working to stay up, “like Carl Sandburg’s Chicago,” she’d say, “even our leisure time we muscle through.”

Her hair tangled, she made her way to the towels I laid out, collecting her discarded belongings on the way.

“The water’s cold,” she says.

“I read something about how it never really gets above 70,” I say.

“I like that I feel it everywhere. I like this I feel this everywhere.”

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Lately, I’m wondering why disposal cameras were ever a thing but more than that, wondering why I got duplicates of every picture ever. I probably threw away 300 pictures today, all blurry, under or over exposed duplicates of poorly framed prom nights long past.

Polaroids are three bucks a shot now (and you can get into a Mayan jungle for that!).

You really have to want it.

It’s odd how there are periods of my life where in terms of pictures, I seem to disappear for a year at a time. And then others, I seem to have done an awful lot of existing.

And now I wonder… what’s actually worth documenting?

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nights like this

Sometimes, this is what every city looks like.

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