We get to the water and there are so many colors, I can’t decide which is which. I take my sunglasses off to look. Let's go swimming, I say.
In the Charles River?
In the Charles River.
In the freezing cold?
In the freezing cold. No, maybe not, maybe not in the freezing cold. Look, a bird. A seagull. Did you see that? A seagull, in the winter.
Maybe it was a buoy.
But where did it go? Take your sunglasses off. Look, the sky. Look. Oh my God, the sky. Sean, your eyes — oh, your eyes. Avery, your eyes, do my eyes look like that?
Your hair, Avery says. Your hair is beautiful.
Oh, Sean says, the colors. Mattilda, you're doing that thing with your tongue. Where is the orange juice? Oh, I've got it in my bag.
In your bag? Really? In your bag?
Don't you remember? I even brought a glass. You first. It's a toast. I'm dying.
I'm dying for orange juice. Oh, my throat is so dry, thank you. That's just what I needed. I like this glass. It’s pretty. Where’d you get it?
I don't know, I put it in my bag. I knew I would need it for something. It's not your sugar daddy's. I'm dying. Avery?
Yes, please. Pretty please. Pretty please with sugar on top. Pretty please with sugar on top and a hot fudge sundae. Pretty please with sugar on top and — oh, it's so good. Look at the colors.
Your eyes aren't open.
Yes they are. There’s a head inside my head.
Oh my God you're right —that's the most brilliant thing you've ever said. Sean, close your eyes, close your eyes. And then look. Look at the water.
Look, Sean says, look at the water. And then she takes the glass and throw it up in the air, way out above the water and she starts screaming, screaming at the top of her lungs I'm dying I'm dying I'm dying. I look at Avery. She looks at me. There's no one else around. I don’t hear the glass landing.
And then Sean starts to sob, so I take one of her hands, and Avery takes the other, and we hold her like that, kind of like in the tub but now there’s too much space between us so we squeeze closer. I wonder if Sean took a different kind of ecstasy. It’s starting to feel cold outside. But it's nice to huddle like this for warmth and look out at the water as it starts to get brighter.
What's that over there, Avery says.
MIT. Or Harvard. No, Harvard is further down. Near BU, right?
But on the other side of the water. Where the river’s really small. Like a creek. Sometimes I think you could walk across.
What about the Mass Ave Bridge — oh, should we drive over the bridge? Sean, are you okay? Oh, orange juice, okay, let’s get more orange juice.
We get to Store 24 and yes, it's so warm in here, yes, I love the colors. We should start a club here. Do you think we could get Michael Sheehan to DJ at Store 24? Wow, look at that — a Slurpee machine, a Slurpee. Blueberry, strawberry, orange. Oh, right — orange juice. Where’s the orange juice?
Sean gets some microwave pizza thing and starts chewing on it through the box. Sean, you need to warm that up first.
Avery gets a bunch of candy bars and some Lifesavers. See, she says, see. Lifesavers. Life. Savers.
Should I eat something? Maybe a pretzel. No, too dry.
I still can't believe how bright it is outside — sunglasses, don't forget your sunglasses. We get back to the house, and it's like someone's there waiting for us, but it's us. Sean's eating the pizza with her hands, and Avery and I are staring at her. We’re at the dining table. I'm making sure that we use the placemats. I pull open the curtains to let the light in. I hand Sean a napkin. I'm still drinking orange juice. Avery's eating candy. There’s this whistle sound that starts soft and in the distance like a boat until it's closer, some kind of shrieking late-night DJ whistle and I close my eyes.
Mattilda, the tea kettle, Avery says.
Oh, the tea kettle — Sean, do you want more tea?
I'm dying, Sean says.
Do you want more tea?
Yes. The fruity kind.
We sit down together with our white mugs and ruby liquid and I'm trying not to breathe so fast. My hands are shaking, and I'm biting my lips. Sean says it again: I'm dying.
It's just the drugs, I say. I think we did too much. Do you want a Valium? Or Xanax? Do you like Xanax better, or Valium? I wish we could go dancing. Avery?
Do you have more pot?
Oh, pot — I knew I could make you into a pothead. We have to go outside for that. Or, I guess we could go in my bedroom, and open the window all the way. Just make sure you blow the smoke outside.
We go upstairs, to my room. I've never had three people in here before. Like Little House on the Prairie, without the prairie. Wait, did I ever watch that show? Like a boat, without the water. Or the water, without a boat. Oh, the bath — let’s get back in the bath.
Avery's laughing again, and I can feel my head leaning back; Sean doesn’t want any pot. Are you sure? It really brings back the X.
I already drank the orange juice.
What’s next, birthday girl? A bath, do you want to take a bath? Or a nap? I wish we could go dancing. Should I put music on? What time is it? Oh, 9 am. Ned gets home at noon. Let's take a shower, and then go somewhere. Yes, let's take a shower together, in my bathroom. There are three separate showerheads.
Sean says you two go ahead. I think I'm going to walk home.
No, no — it's your birthday. We’ll come with you.
No, I'll walk home, and meet you there.
Are you okay?
Yes, I'll meet you both at noon. Do you need anything?
I don't need anything — I'm so high I can’t even believe it. Avery?
I don't know. I don't know. I'm so high I don't know.
Sean leaves and Avery and I look at one another. I'm chewing on my tongue again —Avery, do you have any gum? I forgot to get gum. Avery’s giving me that look again and then he leans forward and sticks his tongue in my mouth, just like that, and I start chewing on his tongue, just to be funny, and then he grabs my head and my tongue pushes into his throat and I can feel him breathing into me, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale inhale and I’m grabbing his head, sucking tongue into my throat and Lifesavers, yum, lime, I almost forgot about lime but then I have to pull back because I'm choking. And Avery takes my hand and says are you okay? He looks so worried.