THE AQUA SLIDE

by EVAN DANDO

Evan awoke to one of those soft, blurry summer mornings that he considered perfect. The screen door creaked and slammed behind him as he paused in the half-shaded garden to rub his eye with his fist. Evan then padded over the cool slate path, opened he gate and stepped out onto he driveway. The garage, the trees and the great thorny shrubs looked half-asleep in the gray-gold mid-morning light. Evan's sister was reading in the hammock, sprawled out on her side in her bleached flowered nightgown.

Dew still minutely brightened the grass down the open lavn but the black tar of the driveway was already warm under his feet. Evan sat down on tht edge of the tar to watch his sister read. Her eyes were still puffy from luxurious sleep. She read as if Ihe book had been placed before her, into her hands, and she had not bothered to put it down or close her eyes.

"Ev?" his sister spoke, adjusting her face under the shadows of thin, moving branches.

"Yeah?" he answered.

"Come'ere-would you swing me?"

"Sure." Evan walked over and took hold of the while hanmock-rope. He pulled on it and let it swing. Holly's mouth curled up at the side. She closed her eyes and let her book drop in the grass. Ev was letting the hammock bump against his bare thigh as it swung. He smiled at the swinging rhythm, at the light and warmth anound him, at his sister's softly intent face, and at the sun on the back of his neck. Evan let the hammock slow, till it was barely swinging, and he climbed on, knocking hips with his sister. He looked at Holly's belly rising and falling under the pinkish nightgown. ..he thought about a couple o' mackerel, a couple o' mackerel in a net. Evan closed his eyes and began to flap his tail and struggle. He was attempting to work his gills in desperate suffocation when his sister pushed him off in the damp grass. "Loser." she giggled .

"Mackerel!" Evan shouted, he rolled, put his cheek to the grass and was watching thc garden gate when his mother appeared in a bright apron that glinted in the sun. She stood at the gate for a while, looking lost. Evan was about to greet her when she turned and walked back up the path toward the house. He got up quietly and followed her.

In the kitchen it as dark. Evan blinked his eyes a few times. His mother was bustling around, cooking something in a large red pot. Her slippers sounded like sandpaper on the green linoleum as she shuffled over to the oven. She stirred slowly and carefully wth a wooden spoon. Evan watched her short dark hair.

"Evan," his mother began gently, still gazing into the pot and stirring.

"Yes, Ma?" She lookwd around into Evan's eyes and put down the spoon.

"Helen Hoar died in her sleep last night. She had an epileptic fit - choked on her tongue. Her mom called up this morning while you and Holly were outside, honey, 10 years old, hon... only 10 years old, a year older than you." Evan's mother approached him. She knelt and hugged him.

"You OK, Ev?"

"Yeah."

"Let me tell your sister, honey, OK? Let her be for a while. Don't tell her quite yet."

"OK, Ma." Evan looked at a chair leg and listened to his mother walk back to the stove. He turned and walked out the door. Evan walked to the middle of the garden and dove to the grass, as if it were a bed. He pressed his eyes hard into the crevice of his bent arm. He remembered the last time he had seen her. He and Holly had been swimming for a while in the Hoars' pool when Helen suddenly appeared at the top of the aqua pool-slide. She was naked and thoroughly tan, soft and round and smooth, giggling, she sat down and let herself slide into the pool. Evan watched her in his mind, he watched her sliding into the pool...he recalled the expression of ecstatic fear that froze on her face as she entered the water. He saw Helen's face - it raced at him in the darkness.

Evan pulled his head away from his arm and looked at a cluster of daisies growing against a bright stone wall. The white and yellow flowers moved slowly in the wind. Birds sang or clicked or chirped in the swaying trees above. Evan felt the sun pressing and growing on his black T-shirt. A great, slow, prickling wave broke up his back. Another wave was beginning as he reached for the handle of the screen door.

**Reprinted from the German zine Generation XXS
written when Evan was in middle school.

**blair note** ok wait, am i just a total perv, or was that like total incestville? hmm...evan.

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