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In the middle of the pond there’s a tree and you can climb, barefoot and careful, some fifty old two-by-fours up to its stubby limbs. Everybody jumps off the lowest branch. Boys showing off for the girls jump from the second one. Boys showing off for boys jump from the top.

Laura drives herself and Tom back, seat belts over wet bathing suits. She plays good songs on the stereo; he’s funny. She twists her ring and asks, “sweetie, why didn’t I ever date you?”

“That’s a pretty confident question,” he says, falling, flailing, metaphor rushing up at him.


“Eighteen days,” says August firmly. “To the minute.”

“Lord, honey, a year,” drawls Willie. “Or better yet, don’t.”

“Ooh, the same thing happened with me!” exclaims Laura. “And then that Friday, Ben… um, went into a coma.”

“A fortnight!” says Jason happily. “Actually I just wanted to say ‘fortnight.'”

“I don’t know,” says Hector, “A couple days?”

“Two weeks,” says Ayane. “Four weeks. No, two weeks.”

“It’s cool,” says Diego sagely. “Seriously, babe, I don’t mind. What was the question?”

“Five days,” says Agnes.

“A month,” says Tom.

“Just ask him, Chyler,” groans Emily, “honestly, can we talk about something else?”