It's the summer of '96. We hotbox the tents and drop acid as the sun goes down. Jamie dances around the fire with a quart of Captain Morgan in one hand and a squirt gun in the other. The music is loud -so loud I can feel it in my bones. Am I sitting on an amp? God no, I'm in the woods. Where is that vibration coming from? No matter, it feels good. It feels like life pulsing through me. Jamie yells for me to open my mouth. He squirts me. "Jesus, he's got rum in that gun!" We can't stop laughing.

We walk down to the shore to look at the stars. It's too dark and we're too high and everyone holds hands to keep from falling, which only makes us fall like dominoes.

"Pile up!"

"No! I'm too small, I'll die on the bottom, let me out." Everyone laughs harder.

I'm sinking in quick sand and the exchange student from France keeps talking to me but his words roll around in my head like a slow motion pinball. Boing. Boing. Boing. Nothing sticks. What is he talking about? I don't know but I like the way he says his words so I let him follow me around. His hair is pulled back in a ponytail and he has a hole in the knee of his jeans like me. Ponytails and ripped jeans. We're perfect together. I start to talk to him with a mix of core French and Pig Latin. We make up our own language. It makes total sense.

When the sun comes up the water is so still it looks like a desert. Half bodies glide across. Everyone's coming down. A few sit around the fire and play guitar but I get in the back of a pick-up truck 'cause we're going bridge jumping. Sherri and I sit on the shore and watch the boys dive in -buck naked. Sherri cries because, "It's so fucking beautiful."

I think I know how she feels.

I dig my toes in the sand and breathe long slow breaths. I'm more content than I've ever been.

I love this life.

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