THE DROWNED BOY

He used to LIVE there, that’s what they didn’t understand. He GREW UP there.  It was a novelty for them, but he had that place in his soul.  Experiencing it again, all of these years later, was uncomfortable.  They loved the beach and all of that skin and of course the drinks and the big beach houses and the glamour and the parties.  It was alluring.  But they didn’t understand, there was an evil here resting on the sands of those perfect beaches and in the sweat rolling off the bodies of all those suntanned gods.  It was wafting in the air, they were breathing it in.

He really didn’t want to run into anyone from his past, which he did 10 times over.  He stood awkwardly there, making small talk with people he had not seen in a decade, people who knew his entire existence; his secrets, his defects and his sins.  The risk of exposure haunted him, but nothing came to light, everything was omitted.  But those sins. . . they all hung there in the air, heavy as a ton pressing on his chest, constricting his breathing and making his heart beat faster and faster, skin reddening and moistening under the pressure.

He didn’t go by the house.  And he didn’t show it to them.  It was behind the rows of bamboo, near the water, where all of the pools and the trees were.  He knew if he wandered too close, something could happen.  As he considered the scenarios, He could sense them wondering what was going on inside his head, but he kept his mouth shut.  They would not understand who he once was and if he revealed that part of himself to them, it would alter their perception forever and that filled him with great fear.

They all sat together by the ocean now, waiting for the water taxi to transport them home.  He looked quietly out over the horizon while they discussed the drowned boy.  He was missing and presumed dead.  Rescue boats were roaming the waters in search of a body, but nothing of yet had been found.

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