by Darby Larson

His Mother drove. He sat in the passenger seat with a folded towel on his lap.

"You're going to meet someone today?"

"Sure," he said, apathetic.

"I said, you're going to meet someone today?"


"A girl, right?"


"A girl. Say it."

"A girl."

"Why didn't you shave today?"

He watched two girls in a red convertible pass on their right.

"Please do this. Not just for me, for you. I mean, we love having you around, your Father and I, but when I was your age... I mean, you're almost 30 for Christ's sake."


"We're doing this because we love you and we want you to start..." she trailed off and remained silent for most of the drive. He stared blankly out the window, not focusing on anything, drifting.

"I'll pick you up in a few hours."


His belly bulged to the left. The sunscreen was oily and sticky in his curly chest hair. He sat in a lounge chair, reading a paperback, occasionally lifting his eyes to watch the people on the beach. In front of him sat a little girl in a pink bathing suit making a sand castle.

He stood up and walked by the little girl. She paused and looked at him.

He continued down the beach, closer to the water, and found himself among more people his own age. Beautiful people playing volleyball and laughing and being wet and sandy with glorious sunscreen buttered across their bronzed bodies. He began to feel like he was walking around completely naked. No shirt on, exposing his horrible body to the world. His skin gleamed white versus the tanned perfection all around him. His furry back was a constant reminder that he's some sort of not-completely-evolved human. He walked a little faster.

The tide touched his feet. Ankles. Belly. Neck. A comfort fell over him as the majority of his body was under the water. He let his body adjust to the cold.

Two female heads with big eyes, big lashes, big lips, pointy chins were bobbing and laughing and giggling, happy to be alive and young and beautiful. They were near him. He imagined their curvaceous bodies. He hoped they might just decide to jump up out of the water so he could see how big their tits were, how firmly they bounced, how tight and snuggly their bikini tops held them in. He kept the bottom of his chin just above the surface.

And then they looked at him. Giggle giggle. He swam forward a little and let a wave pull him back. They stopped giggling and he risked a glance at them. They drifted from each other a little, swimming towards the waves and back again.

Wait. One looked at him. The blonde. Strong eyes.

But then her friend floated in next to her and they were laughing again.

He turned and studied the ocean in front of him. A couple of sail boats. Fishermen out at the peer. Seagull sounds mixed with small crashing waves. He bobbed for a few minutes. A few minutes more. Consciously aware of how far away they were drifting from him.

When they were far enough away, he got out of the water.

He walked back to his lounge chair, dried himself, put his shirt on, and sat down. He tried to read, but couldn't concentrate and kept peering at the little girl in the pink bathing suit who was patting a sand castle and singing a song to herself.

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