Before we cross the bridge, we cross our fingers
and open the car windows.
Just in case we tumble into the river
But we are young and successfully avoid disaster.

At a nearby stop for gas,
The sun is setting and the eyes of the families exiting cars, tired from traffic, say,
“We made it!” or “This damn city hasn’t killed us yet!”

Our cabin is unlocked and waiting for us.
The upstairs rooms have slanted ceilings, the downstairs have abstract paintings
of domed buildings and topless women.
Arrangements are made amicably.
We cook tortillas in oil on the stovetop.
We load them with cheese and chicken.
In the morning – eggs and hot sauce.
And champagne mixed with orange juice (Daniel bought the kind with pulp—-
he forgot to ask if anyone minded.
No one did.)

The Airbnb promised pond is deep.
None of the swampiness you’d expect.
The floating dock is for working up the courage to jump in.
We’re shivering, but we reward ourselves with chilled cans of beer.

Sometimes we talk about things like
What if Manhattan got bombed? Would we make it in Brooklyn?
Who has a basement, anyway?
But then we tire of this. We aren’t our worried mothers.
We’re young, still. 

Later, we spill cajun-spiced, steaming shrimp onto the picnic table,
protected by today’s New York Times.
We wipe our fingers on the corners of the latest news stories.
We discard our corn-cobs on the headlines.
We invite our host to help us with the leftovers.
Later, he will call us “young, educated, adventurous and friendly.”

Educated, but
We swam in the freezing water!
We brought a Pegasus-shaped inflatable pool toy to a pond!
We played country music around the fire and sang along to every word!
We drank out of red solo cups!
We used the newspaper as a tablecloth! 

The next day is exactly like the first.
We don’t check the news.
Phones die on the picnic table while we swim.
We celebrate because we are young and adventurous.
And we have (so far) successfully avoided disaster.

Caroline Higgins
Caroline Higgins (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.

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