It was a run-down thing whose wings were clipped by the test of time, the two-person paddle boat in the shape of a swan, fueled only by optimism and our own two feet. All over the swan, snowflakes of white paint chipped, jumping ship, knowing this voyage is where it ends. It was the hottest day in August, I remember, the day we put our swan to rest. The heat laid all its weight upon us until you were too slow to keep moving, and you gave up. Those heavy drops of sweat that gathered on your forehead weighed down and furrowed your brow. I couldn’t paddle on my own, so we were stuck; we stayed put like sitting ducks, somehow going around in circles but always staying in the same place. Buzzing beads of sweat dripped from my head down to my neck like bees crawling underneath my skin. They were begging me to flee, begging me to dive into the cool waters and be free. The sun shined down and we sizzled in our swan-shaped skillet–there we sat in our shared silence, boiling like frogs and waiting for the other to give. Finally, you said:
I don’t want to do this anymore.
... Thank god. You should have told me before we rented this thing.
Eddie Shannon is an undergraduate at Arizona State University, where he is studying English. You can find more of him on Twitter at @eashanno.