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Treading Water

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During that summer (her sixteenth summer, her last) all four of us spent most of the time at my house. The weather was stinking hot so of course I, being the only one of us whose house had a pool, was descended on by my three pretty friends so often my mother would joke about it. We sat around the pool in our swimsuits (latest fashion) joking and baking and splashing each other. Marcie would spend hours painting her nails and Courtney would apply sunscreen meticulously, worried about her precious skin.

Courtney had fallen desperately in love with her image the previous year so she brought a camera, always taking pictures or getting the others to. So many shots adorn my mirror (with Courtney and Marcie cut out) of Liz smiling. So many different smiles and yet each one is natural and beautiful and so very her.

Liz and I would sometimes sleep over each other's houses, even though we were too old. She got along with my mother so well she would sometimes joke about adopting Liz.

One night it was too hot to sleep so we went out to the pool instead. The water sparkled under the moon and the garden lights. As she dived in the water rippled around her and I stepped in at the other end. We were almost face to face when she surfaced, skin shimmering from the tiny droplets.

I moved closer to speak to her or splash her or with some other juvenile intention. She just smiled at me sweetly and I was completely disarmed. She looked so ethereal, skin glowing, eyes sparkling, that I couldn't help but stare.

In the water her hair had seemed almost fluid but out of it the wet, dark locks framed her soft, warm face. Her eyelashes were heavy with tiny drips. Her collarbone was glistening underneath the swimsuit and I longed to trace it and push the blue material away. The water had soaked into the material, leaving it clingy and slightly transparent. Underneath the blue firm breasts were outlined, the nipples small like pebbles.

Around us the water flowed between our fingers.

This summer she rots in her coffin, whilst Courtney rots in jail. As the heat washes over us I kiss my boyfriend and try not to think of a dead girl when steam rose around her and stars twinkled above. I fail.