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July 2019 Vol. 15 No. 2

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Fred Lowe


Just to get out for a while, I walked down to the lighthouse. I found a sheltered nook in the granite ledge that sloped down to the ocean. I sat and read – Pincher Martin – all the way through.

Over the course of the afternoon, my shadow moved from one side of me to the other. The tide surged up and sent cold spray flying around me. I didn’t notice – I was too engrossed in Christopher Martin’s struggle to survive on a barren rock in the middle of the Atlantic.

My hostess’s daughter roused me. The cocktail guests were arriving. I was to come back to the house.

Maine-O, as we called her, gave me an arid look when I came through the door. I explained that I’d read an entire book sitting on the rocks and lost track of time. “My, my,” she said, “your lips must be tired.”

She handed me a double, possibly a triple G&T. I was 17. I found a corner and sat.

A silver-haired man in black leather came across the room carrying his chair. He set it down beside me and began to chat. I had not shaken off Pincher Martin. There was also the heavy buzz of the gin. I just kept nodding at him. I couldn’t parse what he was saying.

He looked around the room, rested his hand on my thigh. Maine-O watched us. She quickly turned away.

dark waters,
everything’s over my head