After the water park comes pink shame – painful reminders that parse my half-asleep twists with advertisements begging me to buy in: “Never do this again.” With a surgeon’s eye I surveil the damage:
Under the racoon-mask around my eyes, lanterns bob on mini waves like beacons between underwater cities, a tiny secret night coursing along the snaking jell-o river.
Deafening music, gunfire on conversations’ skin, haunts my eardrums still.Yet beneath the bodied battlefield, conversation swamps the lyrics (which from what I can tell are inane anyway) until acid screams grand-finale it all in a white water whoosh.
Drips punctuate the roar: diamonds blossom from hair’s spear tips; rain complains off loose wet drapings to sear on cement; a gnarled cold fingertip traces a line eerily just off my spine.
There is a hyperbola of red pain where my swimsuit curves in the back. Ghosting across the fiery skin cells I can detect the surrender of a wet t-shirt, and beneath that, the waves still rock even as the open air insists we have left the wave pool miles behind.
My sunset shoulders sink out of commission. Their war diaries boast, though, of plastic forks triton-piercing grapes’ rear ends, of pineapple sunbeams that puppeteered my eyes to surf well the minutes, to see safety and to signal thanks from afar.
Above all, the bottoms of my feet have seen damage: racecars scorched paths into the blistered soles until they swell elephant-tough. The brown burns maps our scramble across hell for a patch of gray water; a shadowed footprint, a heavenly rainbow umbrella. I am grateful to have been drawn into the race as a firefly to a dancing night.
A discrete line at the top of each thigh marks the boundary between tomato-charred territory and untouched land. Inscribed in the flat borderline is the four-cloven cheese wheel that rocketed straight down, as my faith whipped into the high wind with a scream. The funnel ride smiled us through prune and banana stripes, the waltz of three reached brake-water with no losers.
A similar u-shape punishes my breastbone, from whence parades back the memory of infinite colors: mint and blue sharks frenzy across a tiny red-haired boy; a golden pineapple delineates a girl’s flame-mauve belly; orange-ade butterflies flutter lemonade wings along a white-haired wanderer’s well-hidden chest.
And I realize that the battle is over, and although the good side won, I will never do this again. My skin cells sigh relief. My eyes catch streetlights like stars.
Image credits in order of appearance:
By Man vyi – Own work (own photo), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5405274
By Mike Gifford from Ottawa, Canada (Ziping Down with Slugs Uploaded by SchuminWeb) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons