He felt she was eating him in, sucking him in. Then something caught
in him, and he said, I wasn’t cool, I was just doing it. Just doing it, just
doing it, just doing it. It was a commercial, he’d felt, and then the width
of those eyes like deep vortices in the sea, caving in, and he revised again
and said, You would have done the same thing. Anybody would’ve. No,
Anne had said. Not anybody would have been able to do that.
The car crunched the rocks to a stop, and they began to unload and
burden themselves with the packs. Blake was in the haze Kieran expected
him to be in, Ian was munching on the gum and then suddenly spit it
into the woods, and Kieran had got his pack on and was dreading the
hike. He didn’t want to hike.
Pouty Panda, Blake said. No reason. Blue sky blue mind.
Suckfull of soul and let them ghosts go, Ian said. He slung his pack on
and pulled a beanie with a big tufted pink fluffball over his bald head.
Drop down and let the wind make you drown, Kieran said.
Eh, Blake said.
They walked. Ian in front, Blake next, then Kieran. The trees grew on
steep ground and were moss covered on all sides, not that lie of north
only, and rain began to fall in a sick fit, drizzling now, now raining hard,
now stopped or only misting, mixed with a quick-melting sleet. Clouds
moved in the tops of the trees, and on the switchbacks they gained views
of valleys laid across the floor of the world reaching back toward the
invisible and distant city. Kieran liked to picture it: a grid of Lego-like
rectangles just visible beyond the floor of the valley. Before the city was
the town, set on the undulating foothills, old bungalows and squatters’
two-stories and finer homes on the opposite side. Kieran’s house was
there, on the historic side of the city, which was actually a side of the city
with no zoning, the houses either renovated and well kept or dilapidated
sleepers or imploding crackhomes or merely boarded squatters. They
lived near a cemetery, which rose above the city. A place he and Anne
had once slept in to test their fears or to simply look down upon the city
blinking at night; he liked watching the city from the cemetery hills;
he liked the cars making light over the highways; he liked watching the
planes winking red in the sky above the sleeping city; he liked sitting
with Anne. You could see the freeway wrap around the city buildings,
and being up high in the cemetery had a similar effect, though muted
and quieter and closer to all things, as being upon rock and looking
and sensing and feeling the curvature of the great world. Upon rock
you were alone. In the cemetery, even with Anne, there was a different